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HomeOPINIONARNOS VALE VERSUS KINGSTOWN VENDORS - IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

ARNOS VALE VERSUS KINGSTOWN VENDORS – IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

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The recent cleanout of the vendors plying their trade behind Massy in Arnos Vale should be followed by a removal of those vendors plying their trade in Kingstown. The removal should be done in a manner that fosters communication, dialogue and timely action which is understood by all parties involved.

Kingstown has much more than 20 vendors plying their trade in busy areas where people commute, and it seems that every month there is an influx of vendors coming into the capital city and crowding an already overly-congested and unsightly Kingstown.

Can anyone tell me what is the purpose of the three designated buildings (supposedly built for vendors)? Are they supposed to be actually utilized? Covid-19 protocols are relaxed, sanctioned parties are occurring every weekend, carnival is on the horizon, school is in session, churches are filled, public institutions are dropping mask and sanitizing protocols; so why are the vendors not housed in these “95%” ready buildings?

We can get about 280 vendors off the streets of Kingstown, so what is the holdup? It feels like these buildings have been 95% ready since 2020. Are we waiting for 2025?

The problem is that the powers that be do not walk the streets of Kingstown as the non-elected citizens; therefore, they cannot understand or maybe forget the plight of the ordinary man and the accompanying struggles and issues which we face. This is somewhat reminiscent of a Venezuelan political system called the Puntofijo pact which eventually led to public distrust because the political parties became divorced from the realities and issues of the ordinary man.

The Prime Minister indicated in July 2020 that there are complaints by ordinary citizens about the Arnos Vale vendors in relation to traffic congestion and sanitation issues. Additionally, Minister of Urban Development Senator Julian Francis indicated that there are no toilet facilities and persons ease their bowels in and among and around; in reference to the Arnos Vale vendors. 

Now, I do not doubt these assertions by the Ministers, however, this problem is more magnified in Kingstown.

How many functioning toilet facilities per vendor are in Kingstown?

How many vendors utilize the washroom facilities?

I have witnessed Kingstown vendors relieve their bowels on or near public buildings in Kingstown, and go back to their produce without washing their hands. This sanitation issue is not unique to Arnos Vale. It is worse in Kingstown.

The congestion is terrible in town, whether it is via walking or driving.

From downtown KFC to the Bank of SVG there is massive congestion.

Between PH Veira’s building and Market to between Bonadie and Market is massive congestion.

Outside PH Veira facing Fisheries is massive congestion.

From just after the Police Station to Courts is congestion.

From Y.De Lima to just before Penny Bank there are problems.

From the bridge before KFC uptown, to the side of KFC, to the side of the Port Authority Building (this is opposite KFC uptown and just after Swiftpac or Old Intermediate Secondary School), there are serious problems.

You have to walk in the road and avoid vehicular traffic because vendors and their produce take up the sidewalks. That is the travail of an ordinary citizen, but hey who cares? 

It is time to communicate, dialogue, and place these vendors in the appropriate areas for them to sell their produce, thus creating a less congested and cleaner Kingstown for the citizens who elected this Government into power, due to public trust.

Remember, I am not saying to destroy produce and livelihood but to remove the vendors off the streets and put them in the buildings supposedly designed for them. This will be a better environment for them and their produce, and will also help to create a less congested and cleaner Kingstown for all citizens.

By: Christopher Williams

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