WE WELCOME the commitment on the part of vendors to adhere to the rules laid down by the Port of Spain City Corporation in exchange for a chance to return to Charlotte Street.
Such commitment must be more than just words. In their deeds, vendors must display a commitment to the urban development of our capital city by complying with rules that are designed to maximise the use of limited space, balance competing interests and to enhance the overall experience of the end-user.
Far too often rules are observed in the breach. The regulations in relation to public health and safety, as well as the use of signage nd upkeep of the street, have often in the past seemed non-existent. When they return on May 10, vendors must undertake to make sure they provide a pleasant and safe experience for all. They must comply with the rules designed to standardise each stall and to ensure the egress of traffic is not unduly disrupted.
But this is not a one-sided affair. It also falls to the State to ensure it has devised appropriate and effective rules that meet its intended aims and fulfils its responsibilities to the wider public. In this regard, it is important for the State to bring order to the use of our public spaces.
If we are to maximise their potential to stimulate trade, markets must be run according to rules that are strictly adhered to in order to ensure quality and viability.
Therefore, we also welcome the move by the Arima Borough Corporation, led by Mayor Lisa Morris-Julian, to clamp down on errant vendors who have failed to pay outstanding fees to the corporation. With a high demand for space in our public markets all over the country, there is a long line of vendors who are being deprived of a place by traders who neglect to pay their dues.
Vendors in all of our cities and corporations must understand that they are a very important part of the equation when it comes to our urban landscape. They play a pivotal role in the provision of goods and services and breathe life into commercial business districts by drawing a large number of people.
At the same time, vendors are afforded opportunities to reach consumers which other businesses are not. Not only must they comply with all relevant laws but they must understand their own importance to the health and well-being of the urban landscapes that sustain them.
Threats of court action may well have played a role in the decision of Port of Spain officials to reverse a previous decision to remove the vendors. But that does not change the complexion of the duties both sides now have going forward.
It is hoped the upcoming meeting between Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez and the vendors will result in fruitful dialogue that will benefit all.