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Vendors cartel at Macoya market

CAROL MATROO Sunday, August 13 2017

Many have heard about cartels, but most do not associate this with vending fresh produce in a market place.

But, this is what happens at the Norris Deonarine Northern Wholesale Market in Macoya on a daily basis.

The backlog of traffic is caused by farmers who wanted to sell their produce but were unable to procure a space.

Minister of Agriculture, Land Fisheries Clarence Rambharat, who on Friday turned the sod for a new $4.5 million car park to alleviate parking along the highway and onto the road which distressed residents, said this was common when there was a lack of space to sell.

“Once you have competition for space, you will have people who are blocking spaces making it difficult for the bonafide farmers, so the first thing we have to do is make more spaces available.

“By removing the traffic within the market we are able to make more space and it would improve the traffic space within the market. It would also allow us to squeeze the vendors inside a little better.” When asked about the “touts” or those who ran roughshod over the vendors, Rambharat they needed to “get rid of all criminals and persons inclined to all criminal behaviour.

“The board of Namdevco has their job to do and I’m here to make sure that they do what they have to do, but they have been operating under challenging circumstances.

Once we have have completed the first phase I expect to see improvements,” he said.

Namdevco chairman Dennis Ramdeen admitted that as a board they did not move swiftly enough.

“The minister has been very clear in giving us a mandate. We are here to help, but it is not the cure for all.

We have to extend the southern side and tackle issues inside of the market,” he said.

Ramdeen said there would be a police presence when vendors arrive to bring in their goods from 4 am until noon.

Vendor Randy Ramoutar, who left his Rio Claro home at 9 pm on Thursday, hoping to get a spot to display his goods, was still trying to sell his bundles of chadon beni.

“We are not getting any justice out here because we have no rights at the end of the day which is unfair.

We have no proper facilities.

We supposed to come together and support each other because we have no interest here. We have no rights, none whatsoever.

“We want a market for we goods. Is a friend and favour thing. I write to the minister, tell I want to meet him. This is my bread and butter. They importing the product and like we selling rubbish.

This is what I do for a living. I do chadon beni, plantain, dasheen fig, I not robbing nobody. All I asking for is a chance. Why do you want to bring goods from Guyana that we growing here?” Ramoutar asked.

As to vendors who were retailing their goods, Rambharat admitted it has always been a problem at the market.

“It is good for the consumers and for the retailers because they (retailers) buy from the wholesalers, so it is difficult to exclude them.

We can have wholesale on some days and retailing on others, maybe changing the hours.

“We have to try to accommodate everybody.

Yes, we want wholesalers, but we also want people earning a livelihood in the market.”

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