The National Vending Bill intended to regularise the age-old trade of vending will be the first order of business when the Barbados Parliament meets on Friday, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said in her address at the national Independence honours ceremony on Tuesday.
Pledging to deliver a new deal to vendors, Mottley said: “The first piece of legislation that we expect to pass in Barbados’ Parliament will be the legislation that provides a new deal for vendors, legislation that will stop making them criminals for wanting to support their families and to do good by them.
“This has been in the works for over six decades and the stories of how many people in this country that are only here because of the extent to which their parents and grandparents were able to take sun and rain in order to sell so that they could keep you in school and keep you in body and soul together. It is time, it is time, it is time.”
The Vending Bill was analysed by a Joint Select Committee of the two houses of Parliament, that invited various groups to comment and make recommendations.
In her wide-ranging address, Prime Minister Mottley also challenged the wider business community to step up to the new realities of operating in an ever-changing environment.
Declaring that “no one owes us a living” she stressed that businesses must be prepared to go beyond the local market to succeed.
“We have become accustomed to being able to sell what we want here and to live well here but if nothing must prove to us that that is unacceptable, it must be the last 10 to 12 years when no matter what we did locally it was not sufficient to create enough goods and services to maintain our life.”
She urged businesses to seek out opportunities within the Caribbean Single Market and quipped to CARICOM representatives here for independence celebrations, to welcome Barbadian business interests.
“I ask us therefore to recognise and to say to my brothers who are here that if you see some Barbadian businessmen coming, treat them well as we have treated yours who have come here well.”
Mottley also urged local businesses to look further afield, noting that Government was exploring interests in Africa and Latin America.”