The Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC), will be constructing commercial spaces in communities where there are illegal vending operations, particularly on road corners. The process for this project has commenced, according to Mayor of Linden, Waneka Arrindell. In a recent interview, she related that communities targeted, which are deemed hot spots for illegal commercial activities are Wisroc, Half Mile, Central Mackenzie, Kara Kara and Amelia’s Ward. Amelia’s Ward currently has several illegal shops along Lover’s Lane, the ‘Police Outpost’ Junction and Empire Drive Junction, amongst other places. A temporary location already identified for Amelia’s Ward, is in the vicinity of the Toucan Mall.
While illegal vending existed for many years, there was an increase in this activity in 2019. This was further heightened during the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when many persons lost their jobs and opted for self-employment. Being cognisant of the situation and with persons continuously constructing these illegal structures daily, Arrindell said the council’s main focus in 2022, is the create several organised market spaces to relocate these persons. “We really don’t want to put people out of bread, we don’t want to take people off the road ways and there is nothing for them to do. So it’s for us to take those persons and put them into a space where it’s clean and it’s also part of a system instead of haphazard development.”
Illegal vendors and perspective vendors are asked to send a written application into the council’s market department to secure one of the stalls in these new commercial spaces. Speaking to INFO 10 on the matter, were two illegal vendors in Amelia’s Ward, who said they welcome the initiative and hope that those already operating their businesses, will be given preference. “I like the initiative, I think it is a good one, to organise things and to get things going properly. We came out here because there wasn’t anything going on for us and we wanted to make a bread, we can’t wait until council get them act together, bills have to pay, there isn’t any work so we trying to help ourself,” one vendor said.
Another stressed that with Amelia’s Ward becoming one of the fastest growing communities in Guyana, a space for commercial activities should have already been allocated in the development phase of the community. “What they doing last they doing first, you can’t give out thousands of lands, open up space for people to live and not make provisions for things like these and when people act, you vex. Every developing community should have these things planned out from the inception. The world is changing, people don’t want to travel to Mackenzie to buy stuff anymore. We saw a need and we capitilised on it,” another vender Lester Clarke, said.