BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (Friday 15th January 2021)-Local vendors on St.Kitts have been listed on a new government committee that is expected to address issues surrounding street vending in the island’s capital of Basseterre such as challenges experienced by those differently abled and the elderly as well as overcrowding by unlawful vendors plying their trade.
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, while speaking at his press conference, held on the morning of Thursday 14th January 2021, made remarks on the subject matter during his opening address in pointing out that street vending “has been a source of public concern for some time.”
He informed that “to regain the best of beautiful Basseterre, Cabinet has approved an inter-ministerial committee to examine and report on the matter of street vending.”
The committee is said to be a broad based one which includes representatives from the Building Board, the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Justice and Legal Affairs, two vendors, the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Transportation Board, the Inland Revenue Department and the Ministry of Health.
Speaking about the make-up of the committee, Dr. Harris explained: “What we have attempted to do is to capture the intergovernmental framework that deals with all the issues that emanate from street vending- Law enforcement, the cleaning up afterwards , the health consequences, the consequences for traffic for having our streets overlaid etcetera…all of those we have attempted to capture and we’ve sort to give those who are actively involved an opportunity for their voices to be heard in the committee. The government’s efforts then would be to bring a comprehensive response, relying on what has worked; the all of society approach in this regard.
On the topic of street vending in Basseterre, he had this to say: “The overcrowding of our street in Basseterre by illegitimate vending, the exposure of our differently abled and elderly to risks and hazards to the improper placement of vending facilities in Basseterre must now
He added: “In our view, what is taking place in Basseterre is not consistent with our vision of a beautiful and friendly city which allows pedestrians and motorists orderly, easy and safe access throughout our city.”
PM Harris stated that his government is in favour of small businesses plying their legitimate trade.
“Infact, we encourage entrepreneurship, and it has been really amazing to see the growth in official businesses, that is, people registering [and] getting their licences etcetera year after years.”
He said last year (2020) there was a record high of over eight hundred business licences being approved by the Ministry of finance whilst noting that there were 600 plus the year (2019) and about 400 at the end of 2014 to which he observed “so we have come a very significant way.”