Market Vendors Protest in Culture Capital

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Updated: January 14, 2016

At least fourteen vendors are up in arms after they were removed by the Dangriga Town Council.  Correspondent Harry Arzu has the story.

HARRY ARZU

“The vegetable and clothing stalls that are along the North Stann Creek Riverside are still empty and the vendors who were once there are all over the place and are outraged. Those vendors who were forced to leave the area by Dangriga Town Council last Monday are still without a trade license. Moreover the vendors who are operating are forced to rent stalls from a business person who was given trade license. They complain that the stalls which are located in front of the BTL Princess Royal Park are too costly for their size and come with a lot of restrictions. Some of them claimed that they have to rent two to three stalls at a hundred and fifty dollars per stall . Nur Cucun is one of those vendors.”

NURI CUCUN

“I’ve been selling at the riverside for over four years. We got the place from Mr. Garincha who is the owner, we came to an agreement that we will pay him monthly. He agreed on that. $ 150. We said ok because it was not a nice space for us to sell so we continued our business. There wasn’t any problem. Other people started to come along to do business with Mr. Garincha as well to rent the land. At the end it came up to fourteen stalls. We continued our business, we developed our customers. Some stalls sold vegetables while others sold clothing, stuff like that. We all became one family at the premises. There was a problem previously and we went to court but we won the case because Mr. Garincha had the papers for his land so the magistrate said we can continue doing our business there because Mr. Garincha won the case. We were just renting the land from him. He won the case so we continued. Now that the new administration came in with Mayor Francis Humphreys, he said that he doesn’t want us to sell thereso we had a meeting with him and during that meeting he said he would build some sheds for us at another location. We didn’t want to have problems so we all agreed that we will voluntarily move until he builds the sheds that he promised us. We waited on those stalls to be built but it was never built. We waited some months and we saw that he never started to build the sheds for us so we didn’t move. Before that we paid a peddlers fee. Monday to Thursday we paid three dollars and Friday to Saturday we paid five dollars and all of a sudden, the administration, the council stopped sending the guy who collects from us and they wouldn’t charge us the peddlers fee. We went to the Town Council to ask why they were not collecting from us. They said they would not collect from us. After a while we started receiving letters from the Town Council saying that we are breaking the law, we are working without a trade license. A week ago we went as usual to sell and there was no one. When we asked, they arrested three of the stall owners, they arrested them very early at three o clock in the morning and they took them to the station.”

HARRY ARZU

“The reason for not giving the vendors their trade license was for them to have left the premises, hence the reason they were taken to court but the vendors say their intention is to go back to their previous location and have now retained the services of an attorney. Their next court hearing is set for January 28. The parcel of land located on North Stann Creek Riverside Street was once a public park. How the owner got it is another question to be answered but the Dangriga Town Council has declared it a no vending zone.”