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.
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.