BLP Govt would decriminalise vending
NO ONE WILL CARRY a criminal conviction for being a vendor if the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is given the mandate to govern this country, says Opposition Leader Mia Mottley.
In fact, she is calling on Government to meet before the lay-offs take place at the end of next week and agree to decriminalise vending in this country and allow Barbadians being laid off the chance to sell their products in an ordered situation without facing censure from the law.
Saluting president of the Barbados Association of Vendors, Alistair Alexander at Thursday night’s People’s Assembly, Mottley said this country had not completed the process of making things right with its vendors, who were an important part of the history of working class Barbadians.
“I make bold to say that I would not know how to lead this country without doing right by vendors from decriminalisation of illegal vending, because nobody in Barbados should carry a criminal conviction for being a vendor.
“That does not mean that you shouldn’t have order,” she said, noting that civil penalties should be imposed for breaches instead of criminal convictions . . .
“I give the public commitment to the vendors tonight that a BLP Government will early on make wrong things right and ensure that vendors in this country will not be made criminals.
“As we enter a period where 3 000 or whatever number . . . are being sent home, we are prepared to support any amendment to the legislation in Parliament that will remove the criminal conviction from vending in this country at the very time when people are going to have to resort to vending as their primary source of legal income,” she said.
“Let us get real. What options do you have? Some will get unemployment benefits, some will not,” she added.
Mottley also urged Government to lend those who were recently sent home from the Drainage Unit a quarter-acre of Government land so they could farm it and feed themselves, since a major weakness in this country was the lack of a subsistence economy akin to St Vincent, St Lucia and Grenada, where people still grew some of their own food.
Turning to the issue of trust and confidence, she said these were missing from this Government, and that the country had been “saddled with an incompetent Government just beyond our imagination”.
She also noted that one of the fundamental reasons why the foreign reserves had dropped by 40 per cent was because of 24 straight months of decline in tourism, and asked how could confidence be inspired in a minister who presided over such.
Stating that the reserves were still declining despite the Credit Suisse loan last month, she declared that the Government was broke, that the banks had money but could not lend to Government because they had reached the sovereign limit, and that investors were afraid because Government’s actions and words were uncertain.
“At the very time that the actions and statements of the Government must be locked down as one to create confidence, it is the exact opposite,” she said. (RJ)