Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn (pointing) warns two vendors that they are not supposed to be plying their trade at the location where they currently operate. (Ministry of Public Works photo)
Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn yesterday signalled plans to tackle street vending and traffic congestion in the Stabroek Market area in George-town.
“It’s congested and dangerous and that we have to try again to bring a reasonable situation here with respect to traffic flow and the safety of persons traversing the area,” Benn told reporters after leading a walk about at the Stabroek Market and its environs.
The purpose of the exercise was to assess the current situation on the ground in relation to traffic and security concerns in an effort to formulate possible solutions for implementation.
Benn led the walk about, which commenced at the corner of Croal Street and Avenue of the Republic, with Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill, Per-manent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs Mae Thomas, Police Com-mander of Region 4(A) Assistant Commissioner Simon McBean and Traffic Chief Ramesh Ashram making up the delegation.
During the exercise, the officials interacted with a number of persons, particularly business owners, to discuss issues such as traffic congestion, garbage disposal, parking, poor drainage and impediments posed to the smooth flow of traffic.
It was also observed that the congestion affects the daily movements of fire tenders and ambulances of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS), which has its headquarters in the area.
Addressing the media following the exercise, Benn described the present situation around the Stabroek Market area as “precarious”.
Benn noted that he was unhappy about the existing state of affairs whereby vendors are allowed to ply their trade on the roadways
“So that’s a very difficult situation. At the moment, we are requesting that the persons who are selling on the traffic roadway to move off of the roadway and to try with the Public Works people to rationalise where we can, the bus, the lane arrangements,” he said.
Benn further added that in the coming week, the City Council will be tasked with repositioning some of vendors in an effort to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic and movement of people.
He added that the Ministry of Public Works will commence painting clear demarcation lines for the various lanes and patching of the roadways where necessary.
Benn also voiced his dissatisfaction that a large number of persons were not following the required COVID-19 measures. “It appears to me that many persons selling are selling without the wearing of masks… some are selling masks for three for a hundred and so on but not enough people seem to be wearing them for one to be satisfied with. I don’t see the spray bottles and the hand wipes,” he said.
‘A serious problem’
The Stabroek Market area has long been the scene of frequent crimes, especially armed robberies.
“We are aware that continues to be a particularly serious problem. Many of the victims are older people, young woman and working men, who have money, cellular phones, their bags with cash on weekends or during the day or having been tailed from the banks. This is a problem,” Benn said.
He stated that the police cannot be everywhere while noting that the area already has a police outpost. He further noted that the city surveillance cameras has played a major role in assisting the police in apprehending the suspects in these crimes but admitted that more needs to be done to arrest the situation. “I know the cameras have aided in the capture of some of these miscreants but much more needs to be done,” he said.