Confusion reigns as City Hall relocates more minibus parks
…drivers complain of inadequate securityThe Mayor and City Council (M&CC) on Saturday morning removed yet another set of bus drivers from their parks to facilitate the vendors of Stabroek Market Wharf, whose facility collapsed about two weeks ago.The drivers of the Soesdyke-Linden Highway and Timehri, East Bank Demerara zones are now placed on High Street, Georgetown, and are currently utilising customer parking spaces in front of Ashmins and at the side of Silvies’ General Store.The move by City Hall to shift the minibus parks was made at about 08:00h on Saturday morning.Mayor of Georgetown Patricia Chase Green has since said these drivers were also removed to facilitate the Stabroek Market Wharf vendors. “That was a temporary move. We are working in collaboration with the traffic department and because of the relocation of vendors, we are trying to relocate the minibus drivers to (the) most appropriate spots, temporarily,” she said.However, the Mayor was unable to say how long the drivers would have to operate in that area.Close to 50 drivers, who operate within the zones, have since complained that they were never notified prior to the drastic move by M&CC.Raghoo (only name given) who plies his trade via the Linden Highway route said, “I was at the park and the Police them come and say we have to move and come park up by Ashmins…this area here is terrible because a lot of people is get rob around here and (this is) the alley way where all the thief man them is come through. Is right at the back here.”That driver opined that adequate security must always be available in the area, which he highly doubts will be made available. He also shared, “The vehicles them are driving fast, fast through here. People could get knock down”.Another driver, Amos Luciano explained, “Well normally our park is be on the other side and now they bring we till round here, which is a far distance… to me it rough to work from till round here by Ashmins. It hard because from the market to here is far…”He shared the view with the other drivers that the area is prone to criminal activities and is very unsafe, not only for the drivers but passengers as well.A vendor, Neisha Mentor, who operates in the area, venter her frustration as she explained how the removal affects her. “Once the buses move I gun move and right now I am annoyed about the situation because these people, the Council, has no system or no plan. If they wake up today and feel like they should move people, they comin and move people and that is wrong. They certain about they money and we got to look for it hay on the road,” Mentor explained.The vendor said she is very concerned about her safety, “because this is easy access for the thief men them. They gun come and is a set ah robbery gun do because Leopold ain’t deh far from here… wah gun happen when people got to travel night time?”She added that she fears that after hours, the Police will stop working and the citizens will be left to worry about their safety there. Already, drivers have been confronted by the Police for not adhering to the new laws as it relates to the new parking area.This is the second bus park that has been removed by City Hall to facilitate the vendors of the wharf which collapsed. The Grove/Diamond bus park, which was housed in the Stabroek Square was cordoned off on July 31.The short drop car drivers who operated in the area have since agreed with City Hall to occupy two lanes in the area at a fee of $1500 weekly.Meanwhile, the bus drivers are now plying their trade on Bugle Street, an area which they too have complained about their safety in.The move made by City Hall to remove the Grove/Diamond route 42 buses, along with short-drop car drivers, to facilitate the vendors of the Stabroek Market Wharf area, was described as “ridiculous” and “visionless” by the President of the United Minibus Union (UMU), Eon Andrews.“I think it was ridiculous. I think it is visionless because I know a couple of years ago there was a plan to put these persons (vendors) who were on that wharf North of the Digicel place where they had an Outpost so that they can do the necessary repairs. The postponement of that has caused the situation to worsen and now people could have died because of that thing breaking off,” head of the UMU posited.