Legitimising vending and providing safe spaces for vendors on the highways of Barbados is very much still a focal point within the Ministry of Commerce and Entrepreneurship.
According to Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, the Ministry will be “bending over backwards” to fulfil its commitment to ensure that vending is recognised as a viable business.
Minister Symmonds declared: “I am happy to be part of a Cabinet that has given me the mandate of not only empowerment but enfranchisement of the vending community in Barbados. We feel very strongly that we have to get the Barbadian community as a whole to come to understand that vending is not just about this country….
“It is something that is legitimised across the industrialised so called first world… and therefore there’s really no reason why we too should not be celebrating the legitimate economic and commercial efforts of Barbadians, small and micro business people.”
To this end, Minister Symmonds revealed that his Ministry and that of Agriculture and Food Security met two weeks ago to discuss the way forward for vending, especially roadside vending, and during their talks, it was noted that the way forward would include the Ministries of Health and Wellness; Housing, Land and Maintenance and Transport and Works.
He also shared that the plans to accommodate roadside vendors had been given the blessing of the Prime Minister, and the Ministry had already identified some sites, where vendors could be placed.
He noted that the accommodation being provided would not only be for coconut vendors but all vendors, and once final approval is given by Cabinet, “tastefully designed” facilities with solar panels on the roofing would be built, and would include bathroom facilities and seating.
The proposed facilities, Minister Symmonds stated, would “enable it to have a more floodlit type of atmosphere and allow us to have some night-time economic activity in that community as well. Again, this is part of the design to enfranchise and empower that community in a way that they have not been treated before”.