Roadside barbers, cosmetologists given ultimatum –have six weeks to cease operations

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THE Georgetown Mayor and City Council is giving roadside cosmetologists and barbers a mandatory six-week deadline to discontinue their trade on the streets.As of November 1, 2015, no such individual should be seen plying their trade on road corners, Mayor Hamilton Green emphasized at the Council’s statutory meeting last Monday.

Town Clerk Royston King offered to have a specific notice given to individuals, after which officers of the Council would work with them on a relocation exercise.

Although many of the councillors were in favour of one month’s notice, King said six weeks would facilitate proper interaction with individuals.

M&CC said recently in a statement that it has observed the increase in the number of persons involved in this type of trade on the roadside.

“The truism is that every single Guyanese has a right to earn a decent living. However, should this be done while the laws of the country, town or city are being compromised, or the health and well-being of the populace are (being) put at risk?” the M&CC has asked.

The Environmental Sanitation Section of the Georgetown municipality had also expressed serious concern with such operations. “From a public health perspective, the operation is unsafe. In addition, it is a contravention of the Municipal and District Councils Act”, that unit has said.

The act in question states that no person shall act as a barber in or upon any public street or way, or at any place within public view, other than at a duly registered barber’s shop.

Before a barber can commence operations, he must be registered with the Mayor and City Council. The registration process includes a medical examination by the Council’s Medical Officer of Health, who will provide to the applicant a medical certificate deeming the applicant fit to carry out such an operation.

Structurally sound

The building to be used must be inspected by an officer of the Environmental Sanitation Section, who will determine the suitability of the building. Therefore, it must be structurally sound and must conform to public health standards.

Once the barbers are granted City Council certification to operate, their operations and the building are subjected to routine systematic and scavenging inspections by officers of the Public Health Department.
Also, as part of the routine, public health inspectors are mandated to observe barbers as they engage their clients. This is to determine if required health standards are observed by barbers as they work.

The M&CC said all of the equipment used on clients must be sterilised before they can be used on another client. These include scissors, clippers and other cutting tools.

“The tools and equipment used by barbers are subjected to thorough examination by the public health inspectors assigned to the area. All towels used should be washed daily, and clean towels should be used with each client.

Barbers should observe hand-washing rules at all times.”

Barbers found negligent are served notices, and if they fail to comply, can be taken before the court, the M&CC has warned.

“The Public Health Laws were made to regulate public health practices in the city, and to protect the citizens of Georgetown from public health diseases that can occur because of poor public health practices. It is imperative that citizens be cognisant of the public health laws and the fact that they, too, play a critical role in reducing illness and premature death. It also improves the health of the general population within societal limits.

“Further, there is a resounding cry from the legitimate barbers and cosmetologists about the unfair competition they experience. They have to comply with rules of the municipality or face prosecution, while those who operate on the Council’s thoroughfares go free,” the M&CC has said.