The vending of agricultural produce and other food products will be prohibited on the streets of Kingstown from Nov. 29, says Clayton Burgin, warden of the Kingstown Board.
“Please keep in mind that everyone who sells produce will be in the facility by Nov. 28, 2022. So, street vending for vegetables, provisions and other food products will be prohibited by Nov. 29, 2022,” he said Thursday at the opening of the two new vending markets in Kingstown.
“There is no street vending for those who have been given space in these two new markets and the Central Market. Persons on the streets with stalls and shops in the Central Market and other Kingstown Board-owned shop facilities are asked to begin preparation to return to their designated spaces,” Burgin said at the ceremony at the Uptown Vegetable Market, located at the former Queen’s Warehouse.
“Any unwarranted structures must be removed by the end of the day on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022,” Burgin said, and urged vendors to comply.
“Do not allow anyone’s boisterous and loud noises to cause you to resist the new era of doing business. It will not benefit or profit you. We want everyone to be able to practice their craft; we do not want to expel or ban you from the vending because you did not meet the deadlines. It does not augur well for us. We must live and let live,” Burgin said.
He said that vendors cannot put businesses at a disadvantage.
“It is not right or proper. So, I implore you not to follow suit and jeopardise your businesses’ future.”
The warden told vendors that starting from January, there will be a standard fee for all markets, including the two new ones and the Central Market.
“… I would like to request for the third time that all tenants have shops, lands and stores to pay their outstanding arrears,” Burgin said.
The warden asked the vendors to follow the regulations governing the use of the facilities.
“You are to treat them as if they were built with your own sweat and blood. Do not mistreat them.”
He said the markets will have a manager or supervisor stationed there, as well as floor supervision, security personnel and cleaners to ensure that everything is in order and that you are following the rules and regulations.
“There will be no produce-cleaning on the compound. The floor supervisor will be present to remind you of our responsibilities. Nothing should be stored in the aisle; instead use the lockers provided,” Burgin said.
The two new markets were opened as the Kingstown Board prepares to celebrate its 125th anniversary today (Friday, Nov. 18).
Burgin said the opening of the two markets “demonstrates the government’s commitment to enabling the dignity and worth of all people with vendors at the forefront.
“After 125 years, we cannot expose our vendors to elements such as rain and sun. When nature calls, we can’t have our vendors running here, there and everywhere,” he said.
He said it is unacceptable to have vendors race against a sudden downpour to scramble up their produce before it is washed away.
“There are those who, from the lofty air-conditioned offices and homes, pretend to care about your well being but they do not,” Burgin said, adding that these people are “all over the media saying to leave you in the sun. It’s what you’re used to.”
He noted that exposing vegetables and provisions to the beating sun, rain and sun again will cause them to spoil faster, and they may become quail and burnt.
Burgin said this is exactly what “so-called caring citizens” who urged vendors not to move from the streets want – “for your goods to be spoiled, be thrown away and the money spent to purchase them to be wasted.
“… They are telling you these things in order to remain relevant because otherwise they are irrelevant. They see you as easy prey to stroke their egos. Don’t fall for it. Don’t let them use you for their evil plan.”
Burgin told the vendors:
“Maintain your focus on a mission to earn a living and provide for your family. Practice your trade with dignity and be no one’s puppet. Pay attention to sound advice and suggestions for those who have your best interests in mind.”
He said the Kingstown Board had a brief discussion with the Centre for Enterprise Development, “about collaborating in the future to find ways to help you carry out your business more effectively and efficiently.
“We are not only concerned with ensuring that you pay the prescribed daily fees. We also want to assist you in growing your business.”
Burgin said many vendors are “being misled by the loudmouths out there and cursing me everywhere, but I would not do the same.
“My issue is not with you cursing me and the government. My main concerns are that you are in a decent and respectable environment and that your sales are maximised. This is about you and the service you provide to the Vincentian public to ensure that you provide the best service possible to your customers.”