Turk Christian Abreu-Hidalgo//
Vendors threaten to sue for losses after market closure

Two ven­dors at the Mara­bel­la Mar­ket are con­sid­er­ing su­ing the San Fer­nan­do City Cor­po­ra­tion for com­pen­sa­tion for the loss­es they claim they in­curred while the fa­cil­i­ty was tem­porar­i­ly closed on Sat­ur­days June due to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic.

Christian Abreu-Hidalgo

 In their pre-ac­tion pro­to­col let­ters sent to San Fer­nan­do May­or Ju­nia Re­grel­lo on Oc­to­ber 8 and ob­tained by Guardian Me­dia, lawyers rep­re­sent­ing Agatha Sawh and Ma­ri­na Ram­lochan claimed that the cor­po­ra­tion was re­quired to pass bye-laws if it want­ed to change the set open­ing hours of the mar­ket. 

There is no oth­er Bye-Law that has been passed rel­a­tive to the Mara­bel­la Mar­ket since the is­su­ing of the Mar­ket (San Fer­nan­do) Bye-Laws 1997,” their at­tor­ney Umesh Ma­haraj said, as he called on the cor­po­ra­tion to dis­close if they had passed a bye-law that was not pub­lished. 

There ex­ists no pow­er to al­low same to be done when the open­ing and clos­ing times are fixed by the Bye-Laws,” he added, as he claimed that the ac­tion breached the re­quire­ments of the Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion Act. 

In the let­ter, Ma­haraj ini­tial­ly threat­ened to seek an in­junc­tion if the de­ci­sion was not re­versed. 

On Tues­day, the cor­po­ra­tion’s act­ing Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (CEO) In­dar­jit Singh wrote to the ven­dors and in­formed them that their le­gal let­ters were raised and con­sid­ered at a meet­ing of the cor­po­ra­tion’s Spe­cial Fi­nance, Plan­ning, and Al­lo­ca­tion meet­ing on Oc­to­ber 28. 

He an­nounced the cor­po­ra­tion had de­cid­ed to re­sume its nor­mal op­er­a­tions this Sat­ur­day. Guardian Me­dia un­der­stands that al­though the in­junc­tion is no longer nec­es­sary, the ven­dors are con­sid­er­ing still pur­su­ing le­gal ac­tion over the loss­es they suf­fered dur­ing the tem­po­rary clo­sure, which they main­tained was il­le­gal­ly im­ple­ment­ed. 

The ven­dors, who have been rent­ing stalls at the mar­ket for sev­er­al decades, claimed that they lost sig­nif­i­cant in­come dur­ing the five-month clo­sure as Sat­ur­day’s is one of the busiest days for sales. 

The ven­dors are al­so be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Ner­isa Bala. 


Christian Abreu Hidalgo