Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Kerrie Symmonds says discussions on new legislation to empower vendors and ensure their rights will soon be finalised.
Following a tour through The City where he interacted with and listened to the concerns of vendors, Symmonds said the legislation will allow for them to be consulted if they have to be removed from a location, and also compensated if their goods are damaged.
He said the intention is also to create vending zones in places that can accommodate consumers interfacing with vendors, including those entrepreneurs selling coconuts without any nearby restroom facilities.
Accompanied by President of the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs (BARVEN) Alistair Alexander, and President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce Industry (BCCI) Eddy Abed, along with other officials, Symmonds assured that his Ministry would also be working with the Royal Barbados Police Force to get special parking permits for vendors, so they could have their vehicles close by, particularly when there is need to restock produce.
“The first issue that confronted me was the desirability of being able to access your produce once you have had to park your vehicle some distance away. I think the solution to that lies in a discussion with the appropriate authorities and the Police Force, so that while doing the proper regulation for parking in Bridgetown, [they make] appropriate exemptions for people like vendors who have their produce stored in the back of a vehicle and they only have a tray space.
“Once that tray is empty, you can’t realistically ask a man to go to a car park that may be about a mile away to start again,” Symmonds said.
The Minister also indicated that because The City is showing signs it is dying, he sees a need to reach out to the Ministry of Culture, to creatively find a way, particularly through entertainment, to revive and make Bridgetown a place where people want to be.
Alexander said he was pleased with the steady progress the Government has been making to ensure vendors get a fair deal.
He said that while BARVEN has been fighting for many years for rights for and empowerment of vendors, the association is happy that it now has friends in power that have come to their rescue.
The vendors’ representative said he was also looking forward to the pending national vending policy.
“We know that legislation will soon be here taking out all the archaic aspects of vending regulation and we are also looking forward to that. We thank the Minister for caring enough to come on the ground to come among the vendors to actually see what the conditions are,” Alexander said.
“We are certain that collectively we will be able to work through these issues and bring regulation. BARVEN’s motto is finding solutions through consultation as opposed to confrontation.” [email protected]