BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, July 26, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – In a meeting convened by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, today, Monday, July 26, food truck vendors received a comprehensive update on the work being carried out to have them relocated at a site at North Independence Square Street.
Theprime minister was joined in that meeting by Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Skerritt; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Ron Collins; Chair of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Street Vending, Mr. Austin Farier; Superintendent in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, Mr. Cromwell Henry and Urban Development Officer, Mr. Rhon Boddie.
PrimeMinister Harris stated that, “It was important for you to have an opportunity to speak with me and to know that the Office of the Prime Minister is giving the fullest possible support to this effort and to bring you back to near normal as we reasonably can, having regard for the new environment in which we are living.”
Therelocation of food truck operators became necessary after the Government took the decision to halt all street vending activity in the city center, which over time became a major cause for concern as it created several challenges such as overcrowding of public spaces, compromising the safety of pedestrians, and traffic congestion.
DuringMonday’s meeting, Mr. Boddie stated that the preparatory work on the designated site is continuing apace, as the Government attempts to ensure all the necessary amenities are installed before the mobile vending units are moved in.
Hesaid, “You would have access to bathroom facilities. The intent is to create both male and female bathrooms and very importantly, a wash up area. The intent also is to put up lights around the site so that you can feel safe and secure even if you work into later hours than you’re accustomed to. We are hoping to have a camera system that can keep an eye on your business even when you are not there, and the site will also provide an area where your patrons can go and sit and eat.”
Thefood truck operators expressed their gratitude to the honourable prime minister for affording them the opportunity to meet and to listen to their concerns.
Co-owner of Deli Fresh, Mr. Jeneve Christopher, said he ended Monday’s meeting feeling at ease and comfortable with what the authorities are attempting to accomplish.
“We felt really appreciated and thankful that the prime minister considered us by giving us the time because honestly at first when this whole situation happened, we actually felt like the Government and forces are working against food vendors and small businesses, but now coming out of the meeting we now have a better understanding of what they are trying to accomplish and we feel more a part of it now than [we did] before,” he said.
Commentingon the new location at North Independence Square Street, Mrs. Latreece Christopher, co-owner of Deli Fresh, said, “I am open to trying the new location. I can’t say for sure that it is a guaranteed fix. I can’t say for sure that it has solved the problem entirely. I know that there will be new challenges that we will have to face, however, as long term business owners with a vision to really brand our business, we do feel like it will give us an opportunity to put down some stakes and be here for the long run.”
TheGovernment is hopeful that the preparatory work will be advanced enough within the next two weeks to allow for the trucks to be moved in and for persons to resume their operations.