Mayor 'willing to work with vendors'
"Street vending as we have known it has to come to an end," said Port of Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing yesterday. "There must be some kind of law and order in the society."
Lee Sing was speaking with the Express via telephone yesterday. He will this morning meet with 15 vendors who were on March 2 removed from the intersection of lower Henry Street and Independence Square by officers of the Police Traffic Branch.
Attorney Martin George is seeking the interest of the vendors, who are expected to meet with the Mayor at the Port of Spain City Corporation at 9 a.m. to seek his intervention.
In correspondence dated March 26, George wrote to Lee Sing seeking a letter of comfort which would permit the vendors to use the area on lower Henry Street and Independence Square. The letter states that the vendors' actions are not in contravention of the Municipal Corporations Act.
Section 127 (1) of the Act (chapter 25:04) states that anyone who encroaches on any street within a municipality is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $3,000. The act also gives the municipality the right to remove every obstruction at the cost of the person who encroached.
George suggested in his letter that if no letter of comfort can be given,the Mayor should issue a legal notice "proclaiming that Henry Street and Independent Square are designated vending areas for the stipulated period and purpose".
These options, George said, were advised by Assistant Police Commissioner Terry Archibald.
"The Office of the Mayor has nothing to do with that matter," Lee Sing said. "If now the authorities require that it is to be used and opened as a thoroughfare…I as mayor must comply with the rules and regulations of the wider society," he said.
Mayor Lee Sing, who said he was "willing" to work with the vendors, said that the corporation is in the process of locating an appropriate place in Port of Spain to establish a vending market.
"After that has been done, there will be zero tolerance to vending," Lee Sing said.
In a telephone interview yesterday, George said there needs to be a more meaningful solution to vending.
While he acknowledged that "there have to be regulations," he said the authorities should make clear what rules and regulations vendors have to abide by and give them "designated zones" that would allow them "to earn a livelihood like everybody else".