GS Jagdeo calls for swifter response to unlawful vending

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has called on the Ministry of Public Works to quicken their responses to unlawful vending, utilising appropriate measures to ensure an amicable outcome. 

Dr Jagdeo acknowledged the delayed action of the Ministry of Public Works in response to several cases of unlawful vending and the erection of structures without licenses, particularly, along the seawall.

General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

Speaking at his weekly press engagement on Thursday at Freedom House, the general secretary said that the government recognises the right of people to earn a living, and has facilitated vending in these areas in keeping with strict guidelines.

These include no permanent structures, vending spaces of no more than 100 square feet, mobile vending carts fifteen feet from the edge of the road, and the responsibility of vendors to clean up their area after vending.

“That is something we have always supported people with – that they can vend in a manner that doesn’t disrupt other people or their business…that they keep the place clean and the structures are mobile,” the GS said.

However, several persons defied this instruction and built fixed structures to ply their trade. In response, the public works ministry has moved to regulate vending along the seawall, ensuring that persons are complying with the conditions and have the relevant permits.

Many persons have expressed dismay at this move.

So, they claim ‘Why didn’t the ministry tell us this while we were building the structure, and I think they have a point. The Ministry of Public Works has been delinquent,” Dr Jagdeo asserted.

The GS further added, “A man just goes and puts up a big sign at the side of the highway and they have no permission whatsoever. They block the highway and change the aesthetics of the place, and the ministry would have seen the signs going up. Then, weeks later, they will go and say ‘you don’t have permission, take it down’. So, we get into confrontations with people.”

He emphasised President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s constant directive to police the highways and public spaces to proactively deter the erection of any structures that go against the established regulations.

The ministry’s Sea Defence Board has commenced the dismantling of permanent structures surrounding vending caravans, which includes sheds, unauthorised extensions, pit latrines, etc..