We will take action PoS mayor warns illegal street vendors

PORT of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez today warned that the Port of Spain City Corporation will take action against illegal vendors in the city. Martinez issued this warning when he announced the restart of the Charlotte Street Vending Programme on February 7. Since the programme has not restarted as yet, Martinez said there should be any official vending taking place on Charlotte Street at this time.

At a news conference at Port of Spain City Hall, Martinez said vendors in last year’s programme who were unable to pay their arrears have until January 31 to make their payments. The previous deadline for those payments was the end of last month. Arrears for last year’s programme were approximately $378,000. Martinez explained these arrears can put a strain on the programme. Vendors who are not up to date with their payments will not be allowed to join the programme. Fees include $300 per month for a push care, $600 per month for a table and $1,800 per month for a car park space. Martinez said this could work out to rate of $12.50 per hour. He added this was not unreasonable to vendors.

The vendors will be licensed, provided with an agreement and operate within certain areas. A building in the Port of Spain Central Market has been refurbished for use by the vendors. Consideration is being given for vendors to ply their trade on Charlotte Street on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The corporation has given power to deal directly with the management of Charlotte Street vending. While many vendors are trying to make an honest living, Martinez said illegal vendors “bring inherent problems when they vend in the city anywhere, any time.” He said the corporation has received reports of these people stealing electricity off poles on the Brian Lara Promenade. While these people “are very creative in finding ways to hoodwink the system,” Martinez said, “We have to take action and stop it from here on.”

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The mayor said the corporation recently received 30 new municipal police officers. He said they will be involved in the security arrangements for the programme. After vending issues on Charlotte Street are dealt with, Martinez said the corporation will focus on vending in other parts of the city “street by street.” The programme will end on December 31. Charlotte Street Vendors Association president Junior Lewis agreed with Martinez about problems posed by illegal vendors.

Lewis said he hoped the majority of vendors would get their affairs in order to register for the programme. He also hoped the corporation would include some training in the programme that will help the vendors to become better entrepreneurs. When Newsday went to Charlotte Street, there were some vendors operating there. One vegetable vendor said she knew about the programme and will try to join it. Another vendor said she was unaware of the programme. “They are running us right now, she said.

Source: Newsday https://newsday.co.tt/2019/01/18/we-will-take-action/

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