Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced that Government will be putting measures in place to facilitate fruit and vegetable vendors during the curfew period, which has been extended until May 3.
During her address to the nation on Saturday, Prime Minister Mottley disclosed that consultation was being had on the best approach to allow vendors to ply their trade, amid the social restrictions implemented as a means to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Acknowledging that the vendors were an essential part of society, she said: “It is critical therefore that these persons be allowed to also ply their trade and earn a livelihood, but to also provide the fruits and vegetables that our population needs. In fact, it is that that is going to boost our immune system, more than anything else.”
Prime Minister Mottley further stated that in keeping with her Government’s inclusive approach, the Barbados Association of Vendors and Retailers would be included in the decision-making process, spearheaded by the Markets Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
According to the Prime Minister, the arrangements would be in accordance with public health guidelines, and she encouraged vendors to view the changes in a positive light, as the island was no longer operating under normal circumstances.
“It may mean that we may have to spread out people a little more so that there is not the bunching that took place in Cheapside. There is no reason why we can’t use the open space for example, by the Lower Green. There’s no reason we can’t use the open space by the bus stand because the bus stand is not being fully utilized at this point in time,” she said, pointing out that they were only facilitating those who sold fruit and vegetables.
Prime Minister Mottley also expressed confidence in the Ministry’s ability to have the arrangements finalized and ensure a smooth transition for the vendors by Wednesday.