Minister of Public Works Bishop Juan Edghill, said a combined approach among the Ministries of Public Works and Local Government, and the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown will be adopted to end road-side vending.
The minister said with the developments of roads in the country, the government is working to improve travel time, and greater accessibility and safety of persons traversing the road ways.
He said however, that this will not be achieved if roadside vending continues.
“Let me make it very, very clear, I am not afraid of the fist and using the enforcement of the laws. We have been quite lenient in the pandemic period and I say that gracefully because in the pandemic period, people were out of jobs, people were basically hustling for survival and we did not want to unnecessarily disrupt economic activities, but the way our country is going we have to stop lawlessness,” the minister said.
Minister Edghill said road-side vending is a serious violation. He said persons building shops on the shoulders of the roads will disrupt maintenance of drains and cause a buildup of traffic.
“Some people are building structures…now when a road is built it got to be maintained, the drains got to be cleaned, you gotta do maintenance work, machines will have to pass, so somewhere along the line, and I think we are coming out of that pandemic period where people could get back their lives in order.”
Minister Edghill said with the creation of jobs in the country, persons who are “hustling” on the road-side must seek to acquire a long-term job. He is urging persons to make use of the many opportunities presented to them.
“We will hope with the creation of new jobs, which President Ali has been pushing, whether it’s in ICT, whether it’s in agro-processing, whether it’s in construction with the housing project…
We don’t want to come in and say you got to move; people must be able to have some alternative.”
He added that road-side vending has not only been happening in Georgetown, but other areas of the country. The minister said such activities are interfering with the country’s development and as such those involved must be relocated
“Start thinking today about relocating, and as I said, there is sufficient opportunities that exist, that you could upgrade yourself,” he said.