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Vendor leadership needed

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Fri, Sept 21, 2012

Editor: The recent vendors’ meeting at the Victoria Park was very interesting and one which served as another talkshop for the Kingstown Board, a chest thumping occasion for the Minister, a backseat quiet moment for the Deputy Warden and the uninformed Permanent Secretary and an embarrassing moment for the elected representative for Central Kingstown.{{more}}

As an observer with interest at the meeting, I found it strange that the minister was the one to lead the discussion, from under the tent, with the other officials just sipping water. What did he expect as the minister from the vendors but crosstalk and political slurs?

The minister stated that there was a range of stakeholders with interest in the cleanliness of Kingstown, yet none of them were invited to address the vendors. Those who wanted to do so were directed to use the public microphone and not the platform on which he stood. The Major was also told to do so, but refused and I agree with him.

If you have a government which speaks about unity, together now, reconciliation, and love for poor people, how come there could not have been a head table of one of the affected merchants, Public Health, Solid Waste, a vendor representative and the elected representative for Central Kingstown. Through this format, there would have been unity in the call for a more organized way of vending and a cleaner environment for Kingstown.

But it is clear that, like the Prime Minister, the minister wants all the say; he knows the solution, so there’s no need for anyone to suggest to him the best approach. That is why he should note that the vendors have not forgotten, and that they could see right through his plan. They have not forgotten that he pledged to build the model stalls, get vendor IDs ready, remodel Little Tokyo, zone the vending and rectify the issues of the market. All these were thrown back at him, as he admitted that the vendors were partly to be blamed, not him.

Leadership is urgently needed in this vending issue in Kingstown, but it needs to be approached with all stakeholders affected. From my observation of the meeting at Campden Park four years ago and the one in Kingstown recently, the vendors want to see better, but they are calling for help with organizing and the fulfillment of promises. Maybe this is the time for Ken Boyea to show his real concern for business, seeing that he is no longer interested in politics.

Kurt Browne

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