WITH RENOVATIONS on three buildings in Kingstown that have been earmarked for use as vending hubs expected to be completed by July 31, discussions with street vendors will begin on August 4.
Minister of Local Government Senator Julian Francis, speaking on Star Radio on Tuesday, July 19 said “vending in Kingstown has gotten out of control,” and the purpose of the clean up is “to provide comfortable, healthy and safe environments for vendors to ply their trade.”
He said there will always be vendors, but stressed that these vendors “will have to be controlled.”
The Roads, Buildings and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) is putting the finishing touches to three buildings into which street vendors in Kingstown are expected to be moved shortly.
Francis said that BRAGSA has promised that renovations of the buildings will be completed by July 31, then on August 2, representatives from the Ministry of Local Government and the Kingstown Town Board will visit the sites.
The vending hubs are all located on Bay Street.
One is in the former Customs building opposite CK Greaves Supermarket, and the other two are at the old vegetable and meat markets opposite the Cenotaph (Iron Man).
The Local Government Minister said once the buildings have been handed over “we will now have them opened for the public to view the condition of these markets.”
As far as the vendors are concerned, Francis said discussions will take place in groups, beginning on August 4.
The persons who vend between the Jax Enterprises building and Heritage Square (Middle Street) will be in one group, those between the Customs building and the Police Station (Bay Street) will be in another, while the third group will comprise those located on Bay Street between PH Veira Supermarket and Randy’s Supermarket.
Discussions will also be held with vendors on Bedford Street and those who sell in the Central market.
Francis noted that the venue for these meetings will be announced.
Meetings will also be held with business persons in Middle Street and other areas who have vendors on the streets selling for them.
Over the years, vendors had expressed their preference to selling on the streets, rather than in the confines of a building.
On Tuesday night, Francis however told listeners that “space is available” and that there are now 280 stalls ready for the street vendors.
Additionally, the Minister said there is a lot of space on the first floor of the Central Market, where vendors can be accommodated. Available space on the three wings of the market is also going to be utilized when vendors are removed from the streets of Kingstown.
There will be specified places for certain types of vending, as the effort to clear the clutter continues.
In order to obtain a stall in the refurbished building, vendors will be asked to pull a number from a bag, which will link them to their particular stall.
“All the stalls will have a number, those numbers will go in a bag; the bag will shake up, and each vendor will have a chance to pull a number out of that.
“There will be no hand picking of stalls, that way there will be no quarrel, no bacchanal, no fabricated stories,” or any such
thing, Francis said.
At present, there are 42 unoccupied stalls in the Central Market and the Minister said there are many vendors who have stalls in the market, but who do not use them.
“These are particularly dry goods vendors, some vegetable vendors,” he explained.
The Local Government Minister said the vendors will be given the choice to go back to the market or give up the market stall.
“The stalls in the market are not for storage of goods that we vend on the streets,” Francis warned.
He explained that longest serving vendors will be given “some sort of priority, in the order of selection.”
After the vendors are removed from the streets, government will take possession of, and dispose the make shift stalls on the streets of Kingstown.
With all this effort, Francis is hopeful that Vincentians will have cleaner streets in Kingstown, in time to do this year’s Christmas shopping.