Frederick Concerned Over Haphazard City Vending – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Housing and Local Government Minister Richard Fredrick has expressed concern about haphazard vending in Castries and its environs.

At a media briefing on Monday, the Castries Central MP spoke about mechanisms to address the random setting up of vending booths on the sidewalks and elsewhere.

Frederick informed that on a recent tour of the Castries Central constituency in the company of Prime Minister Philip J Pierre, they discussed some pertinent matters relating to general upgrading of the aesthetics within the city.

He expressly referred to the parking lot near the old Government Printery, disclosing that the printery building is up for demolition.

He also said there is a suggestion to construct a “colorful arcade” to accommodate vendors that ply their trade in that area.

“The vendors unfortunately make an eyesore in the city …not intentionally, but invariably that is what happens. And on Sundays, when you walk through the city they leavetheir tools of trade hanging about and we come to the realisation that we can do better as a people,” Frederick told reporters.

Consequently, he said, Prime Minister Pierre informed that almost immediately, there should be “construction of some vending booths in that parking lot … and to rehabilitate Bideau Park.”

Frederick said that vending booths will be built in that area.

Nevertheless, he stated the government has no objections to persons eking out a livelihood from their vending operations, but it must be done in an orderly fashion.

The Minister said in attempting to reach a compromise, there are ‘conflicting or competing’ interests.

“You have the interests of the vendors, they have a right to survive, (and) you have the interests of business owners who have a right to use their property unimpeded and …thepedestrians have a right to use the sidewalks without any kind of impediments placed on that sidewalk,” Frederick noted.

“Those are the balancing interests that we need to take a middle ground in …and no one should go far left or far right,” he added.

“It is something that we have to reason out and to do what’s best in the interest of compromising the situation,” the Castries Central MP said.

Frederick noted that he, PM Pierre, and the Mayor of Castries toured the city and allocated other spaces for people still using the parking lot.

“We shall be proceeding with due alacrity with the construction of these new vending booths,” the Minister told reporters.

Frederick stated that the ultimate goal is to remove “those persons there, once and for all.”

“After this is done, I have to send a warning to persons in a haphazard way …to stop the construction of all those little booths all over the place. That cannot be tolerated,” the Castries Central MP contended.

“It is not aesthetically appeasing, it is not something that you want your visitors to see,” he said.

“Yes, you have a right to survive but we need to do it in a manner that …we don’t want to do it in an unlawful and sporadic way. Let’s do it in a manner that lends to thebeautification of our city,” Frederick noted.

The Castries Central MP disclosed that there are some vendors who occupy “booths around the place …they are tardy on their payments, they owe (the) City Council a lot of money. They leave the booths with their children and then they take trays and go elsewhere.”

Added Fredrick: “So, it’s a matter of striking a balance and I do believe construction will not take very long. We are proceeding with due haste …and in the not too distant future, the situation will at least be partially resolved and this is the way we want to proceed.”

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