Edghill cautions seawall vendors not to make the location a ‘shanty town’

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Ongoing improvement works at the Georgetown seawall

…rolls out developmental plans for location, says non-conformity with regulations will not be tolerated

The Ministry of Public Works has plans to improve the aesthetics of the Georgetown seawall by introducing sanitary facilities, parking, waste management systems, organized vending, business and recreational activities and improving landscaping.

However, at meeting on Wednesday at Umana Yana, Kingston with vendors who ply their trade on the seawall, Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill said that vendors will have to pull up their socks and ensure that the location does not become a ‘shanty town’ due to their operations there.

According to the Minister, under normal conditions, units are being placed on the seawall and on the tarmac causing congestion; structures are not in conformity with regulations such as being immobile and 15 feet off from the road; and vending on seawall road currently causes many encumbrances, such as coolers and carts.

Minister Edghill appealed to vendors get in conformity. He said that vendors needed to confirm to the Ministry’s and Government’s developmental agenda or face consequence.

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“This engagement today is designed to do two things, help us to prepare for 2021 and beyond, in terms of Guyana’s development and secondly to immediately bring some order and perspective to what is now an increasing situation of lawlessness,” the Minister said.

“I don’t want the waterfront and the seawall to become a shanty town and we are [quickly] becoming a shanty town. The more we make investments and beautify it looks like people are making it their permanent home, particularly around the bandstand,” Edghill told the vendors.

The Minister said that vending on the seawall structure obstructs the usage of the structure by persons trying to exercise or a family seeking to spend time together. He said that this practice affects possible emergency works, if or when the need may arise.

Later, during a question-and-answer segment, the Public Works Minister pointed out that one vendor will now no longer be permitted to operate at multiple spots and warning letters will be issued to persons vending illegally. He also encouraged persons who have not received permission to vend to immediately apply.

The Minister was keen to note that the Ministry’s and Government’s intention is ‘not to take away bread’ from those seeking to make a living, but rather to ensure order is maintained in the process of doing so.

On this note, Minister Edghill informed vendors that illegal vending will not be allowed to continue, that is vending without permission from the Sea and River Defence Board (S&RDB) and vending on the actual Seawall.

In the near future, zoning will be implemented which will allow for spots to be numbered for better management.

In attendance of the meeting were the Chairman of the S&RDB, Brigadier Gary Beaton; Chief Sea and River Defence Officer, Kevin Samad and Secretary of the S&RDB, Jermaine Braithwaite.

During his remarks, Brigadier Beaton underscored the important role vendors will play in the developmental plans of the seawall, especially as it relates to safety.

Meanwhile, Braithwaite noted that the seawall has a strong tourist attraction and the aim of the Ministry is to improve the experience for both vendors and tourists. He also reminded that an application must be approved by the S&RDB for vending to take place.



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