The pros and cons of economic development

Roberto Tiwari with his son (left), his wife (right) and another female vendor

When a market is caught in the midst of such evolving progress

WITH the commencement of expansions of many roads in Guyana, be it on the East Bank and East Coast Demerara, Sheriff Street or even Mandela Avenue, many Guyanese have been complaining about the inconvenience they quite often experience, especially for those who live within construction areas; also, for those travelling along the roads for one reason or another.

A World Bank Report – ‘Let’s talk development,’ states:
“Roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses. By linking producers to markets, workers to jobs, students to school, and the sick to hospitals, roads are vital to any development agenda.”


A vendor wearing a respirator and dusting her stocks

The Pepperpot Magazine in a visit to the Mon Repos community recently paid a visit to the Mon Repos market and spoke with some of the vendors there. Dust “all over the place” was their major cry. This is added to their concerns about the main gates at the market, which they said they were informed would be closed, leaving them without access to the area.

“We are happy that you were able to come and see what we are going through in this market where we come to sell every day. Look how we have to be dusting and wiping all the time; the dust is not only affecting our goods, but it is also affecting us,” one vendor said.

Some of the vendors said that while they understand that coupled with such major construction there would be the creation of a lot of dust, they still feel that a little more can be done to control the amount of dust being produced on a daily basis, especially for the market where all sorts of goods are sold. They explained that there are vehicles that traverse the road at intervals, spraying the road with water to keep the dust down. However, they are still insisting that more could be done to offer assistance to them.

Roberto Tiwari and his wife told the Pepperpot Magazine that some people have been complaining that when they cough they spit “black stuff.” Added to that, he said that many vendors do not necessarily like to use the respirator all day, because it makes them feel as if they are suffocating; at the same time, he pointed out that the dust is also making them feel the same way. They suggested that in addition to efforts being made to curb the dust, some form of transparent ‘dust-resistant’ cover could have been used in order to help market vendors.

In addition, the vendors feel that in specific areas such as the market, consideration should have been given by the contractors to complete that part of the road once they reach there and not do it in pieces. “I hope that the government would listen to us and take note, because these people are moving very slow around where we are,” one vendor Gaitri Persaud indicated, adding that while people are glad to see the road built, they are suffering a lot and so the work should be speeded up around them.

Meanwhile, most of the vendors said that they have been doing their best to control the dust by constantly dusting and wiping; and sometimes they sprinkle water around their stalls to keep the dust down.

Many of the vendors, especially those immediately facing the road which is now under construction, expressed concern about the gates facing the road. They told the Pepperpot Magazine that they were informed that those gates will be “closed off” when the road is finished.

Denise and Parbattie, two vendors, have said that because of being at the back they were not so badly affected by the dust

“For us, having our stalls facing the road, and even for all the other vendors throughout this market, we are concerned about what we heard that all these gates (pointing to the gates) will be closed off, so that we will not be able to use them. We are therefore asking that the people in charge of this market and even the government to please consider three major things for us: access in and out of the market for our customers; how we would be able to bring in our goods at the different points where we are located; and most important, in case of an emergency how we will be able to get out quickly,” Tiwari related.

However, when the Pepperpot Magazine contacted the Chairman of the Mon Repos /La Reconnaissance Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Ayube Mohammed, we were informed that the situation is still a work in progress. Further, he noted that while there will be “safety gates made of grills where those gates were, many other gates will be constructed on the southern side to ensure that customers and vendors have easy access and are always safe.” He also noted that the upkeep of the market demands constant work, so that places such as the sanitary block is never forgotten and are slated for monthly interventions.