San Fernando mayor vows to return law and order to the city

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

San Fernando Mayor, Robert Parris presents and award to Ramkishore Maharaj who provided 250 meals daily to the homeless during the lockdown. The function by the San Fernando Business Association was held at San Fernando City Hall. – Photo by Yvonne Webb

SAN FERNANDO mayor Robert Parris is promising to bring back law and order to the City, starting with the removal of vendors.

Vendors will be removed from around the Carnegie Library, a national landmark, he said, asserting, “High Street is no longer an option for vending.”

Addressing the San Fernando Business Association Christmas dinner and awards at City Auditorium on December 2, Parris said he had listened to the many complaints of business people who contribute to the growth and development of the city, and apologised for the inconvenience they may have faced owing to the vending situation.

Parris said he understands the need for everyone to make an honest living, but vending has become out of hand. There is a solution, he said, which, once accepted, can satisfy both parties: to create a space for everyone, via uptown and downtown shopping zones, meaning High Street for the brick-and-mortar business places and Mucurapo Street for vendors.

Vendors have rejected the move to Mucurapo Street, but Parris asked them not to be too quick to condemn.

Carnegie Free Library, Library corner San Fernando. – AYANNA KINSALE

“I am asking the vendors to take time to imagine and see the possibility of what is in front of us. As an artist, I am gifted with the ability to see opportunities. Where people see ugly, I see beauty.”

He said San Fernando, the Mucurapo Street market included, is due for a facelift, and called on stakeholders to show their creativity.

“We need to be creative as business people. We need to be creative as politicians. We need to be creative as citizens in seeing the possibility of creating an uptown and downtown side to San Fernando, because High Street is not an option.

“The situation has become very bad. People have to walk on the road, and they could get knocked down.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) also has concerns about vending on High Street and has asked us to submit a report on the situation.

“We have done that and we intend to follow the correct protocol and steps to mitigate that issue.”

Parris is also advocating for the restoration of many historical landmarks, including the burnt-out police station on Harris Promenade, Carib House, the power station and the Carnegie Library.

“These are family heirlooms. These buildings mean something to us.”

He emphasised that there will be a time and place for colour, meaning political party colours.

“The only colour that matters now is blue and yellow – the colours of the city of San Fernando.

“As we go into the Christmas season, I ask you to partner with us. Help us make this city be a better place for you and me to live.”

Saying in the past the door to the mayor’s office was closed to some, Parris swore that would change and he would always be available to sit and talk to anyone who seeks an audience with him.

“When we listen, we learn.”