The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Fisheries and Water Resource Management has sought to clear the air on the issues surrounding the treatment of vendors in The City of Bridgetown and the issuing of permits.
Manager of Markets, Henderson Greaves, in giving some background to the matter, explained that as part of a project to beautify Bridgetown, and allow for the better flow of vehicles and pedestrians throughout The City and decrease congestion, government had made a decision to relocate several vendors who plied their trade in The City.
The project would impact those vendors who worked along the Chamberlain Bridge, Duncan O’Neal Bridge, Vauxhall Road, Wharf Road, Heroes Square, High Street, Swan Street, Marhill Street, Rickett Street and Broad Street.
Mr. Greaves pointed out that over 90 spaces were found to accommodate those vendors who were dislocated, and they were allocated accordingly.
With regard to Marhill Street and Rickett Street, he noted that in consultation with the vendors’ representative, the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs (BARVEN), spaces were allocated to those vendors prior to the construction of the public market facility at Marhill Street.
According to Mr. Greaves, while construction was being carried out on the Marhill Street site, there was some dislocation and the vendors were allowed to peddle on the street temporarily to allow work at that site.
With the completion of the facility in March 2011, the vendors at Marhill Street and Rickett Street and the open areas to the north of Parliament were provided with spaces in the new market.
This, the Markets Manager said, would allow for the beautification of the north eastern side of Parliament and to allow vehicles and pedestrians to pass freely without any congestion.
"So, all the vendors on Marhill and Rickett Streets have booths and stands in the new Marhill Street Public Market. They are aware of their booths and stand numbers because they were all present or represented when the allocations were made back in February 2011," Mr. Greaves said.
With regard to the renewal of permits, he added that all the previous permits for Marhill Street and Ricketts Street vendors had expired since 2011, and were no longer valid as a new contractual arrangement has been put in place.
Mr. Greaves dismissed suggestions that the Ministry had been treating vendors unfairly.
"The vendors through BARVEN were informed at every stage of this project. They know why we built the market, the need to have proper traffic flow in The City and the new contractual arrangements for the Marhill Street market. The new contractual arrangements are for working in the market, not for selling on the street. There are spaces available in the market if they wish to work there," he stressed.
Mr. Greaves added that the Ministry of Agriculture, through the Markets Division, remained committed to working with the vendors and their representative BARVEN and the Wayside Vendors Association to ensure any issues were addressed and that vendors continued to ply their trade at the public markets in and outside the city.