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Call for more vendors’ licences

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Call for more vendors’ licences

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Government should issue more licences to vendors since it is not providing jobs and unemployment continues to rise, Opposition MPs heard yesterday.
Vendors, the president of the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs (BARVEN), Alister Alexander, and store owners from Swan Street met Opposition MPs Cynthia Forde and Trevor Prescod to discuss the numerous challenges they faced.  
The meeting was called after police moved last week to crack down on illegal vending in Bridgetown. Some arrests were made during the so-called Operation Recapture Bridgetown.Standing outside Genesis Touch Boutique on Lucas Street, Keann Walters, spokesperson for the affected vendors, said the major issue was that no new licences had been issued in the past two to three years and expiring licences were not being renewed.
“The Government is not giving us the answers that we need, the Government is not giving us the jobs that we need to sustain us, so we therefore have to sustain ourselves by whatever way we need to,” she added.
“We want to do it in a way that is not breaking the law . . . help us.”
Alexander said BARVEN was contacted by the Royal Barbados Police Force last week to arrange a meeting, which he intended to have this week but the police action was taken before the meeting was scheduled.
He called for dialogue between the vendors’ group and the political directorate, whom he blamed for the continuing state of chaos in vending.
Forde, the Opposition spokesperson on small business, said that nobody in the Government had met the vendors and called for market officials and ministry officials to meet a small delegation to discuss their concerns.
She said that in the last five years more than 16 000 people had lost jobs and another couple thousand in the past months.
“Who will feed their families, who will pay their bills for them, who will send their children to school?” she asked. (LK)