Vincentians have finally been offered a reason for the non-functioning of the much touted move of street vendors to areas retrofitted for occupation by vendors. Two structures had been retrofitted and became a campaign promise prior to the general elections of 2020. However since then the buildings have remained closed and the vendors have continued plying their trade on the streets.
The explanation of the stalled process has come from Minister responsible for Urban Development Senator Julian Francis as he spoke live on radio station Boom 106.9 on Friday March 14.
The Minister offered that “COVID (was) the main reason the buildings have not yet been occupied because of the protocols and the idea of taking the vendors off an open air and putting them” during “the peak of COVID into a closed area.”
The long-serving senator further stated that there were some three hundred stores in-between the Kingstown Vegetable market that that he and the Ministry of Health thought that they would “leave that for the safety of the country.”
He said that the the Kingstown Town Board was in the process of organising a list of the longest serving vendors on the street to whom priority of accommodation would be given. In response to a question to whether the the retrofitted facilities could hold all the vendors being targeted he admitted that they could not but that “it will take three hundred vendors off the streets.”
The vendors that cannot be accommodated in the new market he said would have an option to go back to the old market because the government will be “declaring some areas not for vendors.”
The minister also touched on the area of Arnos Vale which has been highlighted during the height of the last elections campaign about vending problems in the area of the Massey Supermarket and said the project will not include Arnos vale soon as “the priority is to get Kingstown.”
He also informed that “conversations” had emerged regarding the building of stalls at the back of the Massy Supermarket though there was “nothing on paper.”