Coconut vendors muscled out of QPS
By Joan Rampersad Monday, June 11 2012
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VENDORS PLIGHT: President of the Coconut Vendors Association Baldeo Babwah, left and Kishore Singh, secretary....
THE Coconut Vendors Association is calling on Port-of-Spain Mayor Louis Lee Sing to regularise vending at the Queen’s Park Savannah and recognise, as his predecessors did, that members of the Association have a legitimate right to vend at the Savannah.
The call was made by president of the association Baldeo Babwah at a press conference held yesterday at the Queen’s Park Savannah, opposite Queen’s Royal College, where the coconut vendors ply their trade.
“We support any move to beautify the Savannah and ensure a clean environment however we cannot support any move to takeaway bread from our tables because of the selfish agenda of one person.” He was referring to the businessman who asked them to remove their vans and replace them with decorated steel carts.
Babwah said the businessman also promised to look after the maintenance of the carts, as well as provide them with other incentives such as freezers, bins, uniforms and security. In turn, the businessman said he would sell advertising space on the carts. However, two months ago, Babwah said the businessman took back two carts for repairs and upgrade but instead of returning them to the association, they were given to other operators who do not belong to the association. Babwah said now non-members were flooding the Savannah, particularly in the vicinity of the QRC, where the association’s members have operated since in the days of the donkey carts.
He said these new vendors were destroying their livelihood and were threatening legitimate coconut vendors. Babwah has since met with Lee Sing but said the mayor was yet to do anything about the problem. Given the tenuous situation, Babwah and his members want “all authorities, the mayor, Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism and any person who has the power to fix this problem.”