Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 22, 2021 (SKNIS): Superintendent in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, Cromwell Henry, said that although vendors have a right to peddle their wares and ply their trade, it must not put an obstacle in the way of pedestrians accessing public spaces including sidewalks.
“How do we balance the individual right to earn a living or to work with the public’s collective right to use a public space?” asked Superintendent Henry while speaking on ‘Working for You’ on July 21, 2021.
He said it is the role of the Government to make sure that this balance is attained.
“Government has a responsibility to regulate the use of public spaces and to protect the collective right of the public to use these spaces and so several pieces of legislation have been put in to protect such rights,” said the law enforcement officer. “One that readily comes to mind is legislation against causing obstruction to walkways and to sidewalks and this can be found in the Vehicles and Road Traffic Act.”
“Traffic includes pedestrians and the sidewalks were designed for pedestrian use, so anything that impedes the flow of pedestrian traffic is an obstruction and so the authorities have a responsibility to prevent any obstruction to these sidewalks,” he said.
“We cannot have pedestrians stepping out into the road or walking into the road to avoid vendors on the sidewalk … so as public servants we have a responsibility to ensure that while we protect the individual right to work, we also have the right to protect the public’s collective right to access public space,” Superintendent Henry reiterated.
“The vendors may take up half the sidewalk to display their wares and their customers take up the other half while they are purchasing or just looking at what the vendors are offering and so the pedestrians who are not participating in that activity are now forced to go around and to walk in the streets,” said Superintendent Henry.
He also said that the installed traffic lights in Basseterre are another factor that requires the free flow of traffic as this is the reason why all parking permissions were withdrawn from streets where the traffic lights were installed.