Vending in Barbados will undergo a major transformation that will see vendors plying their trade in more humane conditions.
Governor General Dame Sandra Mason said Government is committed to providing a new deal for vendors. She made the comments on Tuesday when she delivered the Throne Speech at the Opening of the Second Session of Parliament, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Dame Sandra noted: “My Government is resolved that the vendors of Barbados must have a new deal. This will include refurbished markets and the construction of new areas, from Fairchild Street to Brandons, and from Baxter’s Road to Temple Yard, as well as a number of community vending facilities. Much of this work has started.”
She continued: “A new bill that will halt the criminalisation of vendors, for breach of licences, will simultaneously regulate vending, so there is no mayhem and disorder.”
Dame Sandra also disclosed that there would be enhanced access to credit for vendors, with the recapitalising of Fund Access with $20 million and the Trust Loan Programme with a further $10 million.
The Governor General said small businesses had already received benefits for job subsidies in a programme being administered by Fund Access.
Additionally, she said Government would be assisting farmers in providing food and other essential items for Barbadian tables through a low-rate financing initiative under special conditions at a rate of 1.5% to 2.5% through the Co-operative Society Investment Fund.
These funds, the Governor General added, would be made available to farming and food producing co-operatives and their members, to assist them in purchasing much needed raw materials and equipment.
“The package will target the growth and development of six key priority sectors; namely, renewable energy, agribusiness, health and wellness, creative industries, tourism related businesses, and manufacturing,” Dame Sandra stated.