AS THE Kingstown Town Board works to clear the city streets of informal street vending, Warden, Clayton Burgin is urging vendors to comply with the changes being made.
His comments were made during the official opening of the Up town and Down town markets in Kingstown yesterday, Thursday, November 17.
“We do not want to expel or ban you from vending because you did not meet deadlines,” Burgin said.
The deadline placed by government on the prohibition of street vending has been set for November 29, 2022 and Burgin said all unwarranted structures are to be removed from the street by the end of the day on November 28.
As the Town Board prepares to celebrate its 125th anniversary on November 18, Burgin stressed the importance of reforming the way in which vendors ply their trade.
“After 125 years we cannot expose our vendors to the elements such as rain and sun. When nature calls, we can’t have vendors running here, there and everywhere. We cannot have vendors racing against a sudden downpour to scramble up their produce before it is washed away, because we care about your well-being and livelihoods.”
Burgin warned vendors not to be “misled by the loud mouths” and to follow the instructions of the Town Board so as to improve the performance of their businesses.
“… My issue is not with you cursing me and the government, my main concern is that you are in a decent and respectable environment and that your sales are maximized. This is about you and the service you provide to the Vincentian public,” Burgin stressed.
He asked vendors to follow the regulations governing the new markets and also made another call for vendors to pay the outstanding fees owed to the Town Board.
Burgin had earlier said that some vendors owe thousands of dollars in fees. The daily cost per vendor to operate is less than $10.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves underscored the importance of vending to the economic and cultural landscape of St.Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). However he stressed that they are not a law unto themselves.
“Vendors are part of a society, we have to respect them,we have to appreciate them. They must also recognize that the society does not belong to them alone.
People have to walk the streets undisturbed, people have to operate businesses from their buildings, people have to drive their vehicles and we have to keep the place tidy.”
Some of the 281 vendors assigned to be housed in the markets were in attendance at the opening ceremony after which officials conducted a random ticket draw for the selection of stalls.
Arrangements are also being made to house clothing vendors who ply their trade along Middle Street, with consideration being given to using the wings of the Central Market. Until placements are finalized, vendors will operate on one side only in the area from the back of the police station to Edwin D Layne and Sons building.