Banks DIH heads to court to remove vendors around Demico House

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Vending outside of the Demico House building

Encouraged by the recent success of Muneshwer’s Limited in removing vendors operating outside its premises, Banks DIH Limited is considering pursuing legal action to remove vendors from its premises at Demico House in the Stabroek Market Square.

“We’re contemplating now that we take legal actions in the court to alleviate this problem, just like what Muneshwer company has done. The company is losing finances at Demico House. The whole area is being abused, and we just can continue to run the business under those conditions,” Banks DIH Chairman Clifford Reis disclosed at the beverage giant’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday.

He was responding to a shareholder’s question on whether Banks DIH would take similar actions as Muneshwer Limited to clear the vendors operating under and around its Demico House building, which is located opposite the Stabroek Market.

According to Reis, Banks DIH Limited has made numerous efforts over the years to remove the vendors from operating around this premises.

“We sent letters to the Town Clerk and the City Council, the Deputy Commissioner and the Commander of Regional Division ‘A’ (Georgetown), to notify these authorities about the aforesaid activities and request their intervention in getting the said activities to cease. But nothing has happened,” he explained.

The Chairman explained that the resolve to move to the courts came following the failure of a plan initiated by the Georgetown City Council to remove the vendors. Reis revealed that after writing the M&CC, a team had met with the vendors.

“After the visit, they stated that they would implement a long-term strategy involving a policy to relocate the vendors, and a short-term approach plan, which is to clear the walls of the building and the entrances… The Mayor and City Council initiated this plan, but the results were not successful,” he explained.

“My fellow shareholders, the number of clients going into our restaurants at Demico House has decreased. We can’t even get into the Idaho Building now. The restrooms and the toilets are being abused… Banks DIH Limited has no alternative now, my fellow shareholders [but to move to the court to have the vendors removed],” Chairman Reis stated.

In October 2017, the M&CC had passed a directive banning vending outside of Demico House, and had threatened to remove those who refused to relocate. However, pushback from the vendors, coupled with internal politics within City Hall, had resulted in that directive never being enforced.

Back in November 2023, Chief Justice Roxane George had granted an order for the M&CC to seize the goods of vendors operating around the premises of Muneshwers Limited, as the proliferation of such acts was creating encumbrances around the business’s Water, Commerce, and Longden Streets location in Georgetown.

The Chief Justice had heard an application made by Muneshwers Limited on October 27, 2023 for an administrative order of mandamus, compelling the Town Clerk of the City of Georgetown to remove persons leaving, placing, storing any cart, barrel, dustbin, boxes, and other articles upon the pavement and around the streets around their premises.

For over 15 years, Muneshwers claimed, pavement vending had proliferated in the City of Georgetown, and more so in front of their business; and several letters had been sent to the M&CC complaining about the occupation and/or encumbrance of the pavements, but to no avail.