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Vendor: We need better treatment under the bank

Vendor: We need better treatment under the bank


Vendors in Kingstown said last Tuesday that they should not be harassed, even as they said that the manner in which vending is being conducted is cause for concern.{{more}}

The vendors spoke at the most recent consultations with Minister of Transport and Works Senator Julian Francis.

While many who spoke at the event at Victoria Park said they believe the city needs to be cleaned, they also said there were other elements that were a part of the overall problem.

One vendor, who identified herself as “Miss Jocelyn”, told the gathering she believed she was the most targeted vendor in Kingstown.

She added that she had been vending at the Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines gallery for some time and that she pays her dues.

“Then, all of a sudden we were bombarded by officers,” she said, adding that she knew some of those officers felt badly for having to move the vendors off the streets.

She contended that the police was subjecting the vendors in that particular area of the city to barbaric behaviour.

“We need better treatment under the bank,” the vendor said.

She further said the Deputy Warden at the Kingstown Town Board (KTB) had given them permission to vend in that location and that they needed to get small tables and put them in designated spots, to which they conformed.

“Then, all of a sudden we see that we have been treated like common criminals on the streets of Kingstown,” she said.

“We hear everybody talking about cleaning up the town and cleaning up the vendor, but we ain’t hearing nobody talking about cleaning up the vagrants — they are a nuisance,” the woman said.

“There are lots of things that we need to look at before putting police on our backs,” she continued.

The vendor explained that the economy was bad and that the people there were only trying to make a living.

“If we have to vend, allow us to do so until the economy turns around.”

She demanded to be treated better, saying that when the KTB calculated the amount of money collected from vendors, it amounted to a significant sum.

Another vendor shared the same view, saying that vendors were constantly living in fear.

She told the minister that she had built a cart at a cost of $250, but was afraid that if she left it in the city overnight, it would be thrown away.

Another vendor said she did not agree with Francis’ suggestion that vendors purchase material and build their vending tables. She said using wooden pallets was the cheapest way.

She complained of the facilities in the Central Market, particularly the toilet, saying that it needs to be cleaned and that customers wishing to use the toilet facilities be made to pay a small fee.

She further contended that the manner in which fees are collected from vendors was inefficient.

Other vendors agreed with the minister, calling for the vendors to clean up their act and ensure that their surroundings are kept clean.

The minister, however, responded to a few of the comments.

He gave the statistics of revenues collected from 2008 to 2010 saying that in 2008, $87,000 was collected.

In 2009, the amount was $95,000 and in 2010: $109,000.

But he contended that the Central Market vendors bring in three to four times more revenue for the KTB than the street vendors did.

He added that although these were hard times and everybody wanted to make a living, vendors needed to operate within the rules and regulations and laws of the country. (DD)