Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 22, 2021 (SKNIS): The Inter-ministerial Committee on Street Vending was formed to address some issues relating to street vending in Basseterre including the overcrowding of public spaces, traffic congestion, poor waste management, as well as safety of pedestrians and healthy food practices.
“One of the main issues coming out from the Police was the issue of safety. The competition on the roads right now is causing pedestrians to be at risk. It is going to become a time when we can’t walk into the road because you might risk being run over and one person getting knocked down is one too many,” said Austin Farier, Chair of the Inter-ministerial Committee during his July 21 appearance on Working for You. “What the committee is most concerned about is people with disabilities; the sidewalks are already crowded even when the vendors are not there. Imagine being in a wheelchair having to be in the road because some of the sidewalks might be too small to accommodate. That is an issue we have to deal with.”
Mr. Farier also touched on the issue of public health, noting that such practice remains a major concern.
“It is not easy being an entrepreneur and when you have someone looking on and trying to emulate authorized vendors on the street and just get up one morning and decide to do that but don’t know the process… those persons don’t know who they are negatively impacting,” he said. “And so that became an issue where pedestrians and the persons with disabilities were going to be entangled into a safety and health issue especially pedestrians who like to buy food on the street.”
Another issue identified was the improper storage and disposal of waste. Mr. Farier noted that it is important for vendors to manage waste responsibly.
“There is an issue of waste management. Persons who know how to handle food know how to manage the waste after and how to clean up after themselves and clean the area before,” he said. “Those who didn’t really ask a question don’t know anything and they tend to leave the area in a mess and this has implications to the health and cleanliness of Basseterre going forward.”
He noted that the committee is ensuring that people are safe, as well as “decentralizing a lot of the activities and creating areas where people can ply their trade honestly and grow.”