–stallholders, itinerant vendors to now pay rent at market booths
BEGINNING March 1, all casual and itinerant vendors will be required to pay their rent and other fees to the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) at special booths, and no longer through the revenue collectors for the various markets. Although Town Clerk Royston King insisted on Friday that the municipality is satisfied with the revenue collectors, there had been several corruption complaints in the past involving them.
“No monies would be collected by anyone other than persons officially assigned in those booths to do so,” King clarified at a City Hall press conference. The new initiative will be rolled out at Bourda Market first, before it is taken to the other municipal markets. In keeping with this change, King said there will now be verifying officers in place of revenue collectors. “They, along with staff from the City Treasurer’s Department and Internal Audit, will check and verify receipts.
Those who are not in possession of official council receipts would not be permitted to sell or carry on business.” Construction of the first booth has already started on Orange Walk. “The objective is to allow the vendors to make a livelihood in a clean and safe environment,” King said, adding: “This would enhance financial accountability, transparency and reduce security vulnerability in this facility. However, beginning from the 1st of March 2018, we will use Bourda Market as a pilot. We will look at the challenges and test the strengths and identify weaknesses of this new approach before it is replicated in other municipal markets.”
He also told the media that the council has commenced registration for all street vendors operating in the city, and that it is being done at City Hall. Vendors are required to walk with their identification cards, two passport-size photographs, their TIN number and $3000 dollars.
Said he: “We are building a database of all street vendors. This would allow us to monitor their activities, assist in improving their profitability and generally keep track of this industry. There is an existing agreement between the Council and street vendors. That agreement suggests certain conditions for vending on city streets, pavements and other reserves.”
Those individuals who were given space and time to sell for the festive season are required to remove all pallets, boxes, trays, stalls and other things from those areas by Monday January 15, 2018, King said. “In the meantime, we are looking at possible areas to begin the relocation of those stallholders operating on the Stabroek Market wharf,” he added.