MINISTER ON TOUR: A downtown vendor greets Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal during yesterday's Salvatori site visit on Independence Square. Looking on are Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing, left, and Housing Development Corporation managing director Jearlean John, centre. —Photo:
stay at Salvatori site 'for now'
PORT of Spain street vendors were yesterday assured by Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal that they will have a place in any new facility built at the former site of the Salvatori Building on Independence Square in the capital city.
Moonilal met with the vendors and Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing to discuss the future of vending at the site.
Vendors were allowed to set up temporary structures and sell at the site two years ago.
They will be allowed to operate there until the State is ready to construct a new building, but Moonilal said the process must be handled in a manner that the State has no trouble moving the vendors when the time comes.
Lee Sing agreed and sought assurance from Moonilal that the site will not be taken away from the "people".
Lee Sing said the State must consider allowing vendors to occupy a space in any new facility for a reasonable fee, to encourage the growth of entrepreneurs.
This will be not be a collection of shacks, Lee Sing said, but a properly laid out shopping area.
It will be understood that the fees will increase as the vendors become more successful, he said.
Moonilal agreed and said the Government was also being lobbied by the business community to utilise the space at some point for parking.
While this was a legitimate call, Moonilal said the vendors will be allowed to stay for now and proper discussions about parking in downtown Port of Spain will take place.
Lee Sing said he understood the need for parking but an effort should be made to encourage a return to the park and ride system that increased for the 2013 Carnival season.