Bartica Town Council urged to resolve vendors’ issues
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Hon. Nigel Dharamlall is collaborating with the Regional Democratic Council and the Town Council to resolve the issues affecting Bartica Municipal Market vendors to better allow them to ply their trade.
The Minister met Mayor of Bartica, His Worship Mr. Gifford Marshall and councillors on Tuesday, after a meeting with vendors, during an outreach in the Region.
Vendors raised several concerns including being hampered by the market’s leaky roof and the 16 per cent interest rate on vending fees. To this end, Minister Dharamlall recommended that the Regional Democratic Council and the Town Council work together to rehabilitate the market’s infrastructure.
“We have some issues in terms of the management of the market and I believe that the management of the market has to be more standardised, and I hope that that is one of the things the council will also work on, the decision making seems to be very ad hoc.
We would like to have the management of the municipality done in a very non-discriminatory way so that everyone benefits equally and equitably,” he said.
Residents also complained that a boat visits the stelling every day, to sell the same items which they vend, significantly reducing their sales. Minister Dharamlall said the Government plans to implement a single permit window in Georgetown to ensure fair trade, which the Region should emulate.
Meanwhile, he urged the Town Council to resolve the challenges surrounding vending fees.
“The issue of vendors paying quite a substantial interest rate, or late payments fees, I believe is something that the Council should take account of because Bartica is now growing.
A lot of vendors have complained that they are not getting business and the business has been slow for a long time and that is why many of them were unable to even pay their monthly market fees, much less late payment fees. So, they have given me the commitment that they are going to address these things, and I intend to follow up to make sure that these issues are addressed,” he said.
In April 2020, the Town Council decided to waive the vending fees for two months after noting the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision resulted in a $2 million loss for the Council.
Mayor Marshall said while this decision provided some relief to vendors, several of them have outstanding payments which cannot be overlooked. As such, the Minister suggested that those amounts be cleared or a payment plan established to address these debts. The Mayor agreed that the Council would address the matter.