New San Fernando vending stalls erected

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

City corporation worker Nicholas Surujlal paints the new vendors’ stalls on Mucurapo Street, San Fernando on Thursday. – Photo by Rishard Khan

FORMER street vendors from High Street will be able to occupy new stalls in the designated vending zones in San Fernando from as early as Friday.

In a bid to give the city a facelift and comply with the law, the San Fernando City Corporation constructed stalls in designated vending zones at Harris Promenade and Mucurapo Street in front of the market.

Mayor Robert Parris told Newsday a compliance officer will ensure vendors are registered before they can occupy and sell from the stalls.

“People have already started to send in letters showing some type of interest in vending there you know. So the compliance officer is there and from as early as tomorrow morning (Friday) if they are interested,” he said.

These stalls will be able to fit around four cots and will be given to the vendors at the same rate they were paying for the High Street spots – $500 every three months.

“I think it’s only fair they continue to do the same thing. I’m not draconian you know, I’m a humanitarian,” Parris said.

There are plans underway to have the Mucurapo Street market refurbished, the street paved and lit with LED lights between Lord and Keate streets, the mayor said.

Nearby business owners told Newsday they were not optimistic the plan would succeed.

A businessman who said he has operated at the location for almost 40 years, felt vendors should have been accommodated inside the market on a trial basis before the corporation spent money to erect these new stalls.

Given the economic conditions and relatively low foot traffic, the businessman said vendors may not stay at the spot, if they do come to it at all.

Responding to these concerns, Parris said: “We don’t have a crystal ball.” As mayor, he continued, he said he won’t be irresponsible and watch Mucurapo shopping districts die.

“As mayor I cannot allow illegality on High Street and have external health and safety agencies write us about what is going on there. I cannot do that.” On Wednesday angry street vendors protested outside city hall demanding Parris’ firing.