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New legislation to decriminalise vending

New legislation to decriminalise vending
Minister of Energy and Business Development, Kerrie Symmonds. (GP)

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Government has taken the first step in a bid to decriminalise vending in Barbados and to open up the playing field that Barbadians can ply their trade legitimately.

The National Vending Bill 2021 introduced in the House of Assembly earlier today by Minister of Energy Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerry Symmonds, seeks to create a new regime to facilitate the operation of vendors in which they would no longer have to face the law courts for certain vending offences.

Symmonds told the House the intention was to dismantle over 300 years “of the last vestiges of the British slave economy”, to bring some dignity to vending and to regulate the activity for the benefit of all engaging in it.

Leading off the debate, MP for St James Central cited laws passed during Barbados’ colonial period which exposed a history of obstruction to vending activity by “black” Barbadians. He said the legislation before the House was designed to put an end to this.

The proposed legislation will see infractions committed by vendors dealt with as a civil matter and will also give vendors a say in how and where they operate.

Symmonds said the bill would go to a select committee of the House for “further ventilation, so that the vending community may have input beyond that which they would have already had by way of discussion”. (GC)