Vendors Bemoan Removal

Javon Liburd, Staff Reporter | 6 Opinions
Published: July 12, 2017 8:44 am AST
Ms. Hodge in her new location adjacent the Road Town Fire Station
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Vendors who were requested to move their operations from along the roadside, in the vicinity of Sol Gas Station in Road Town, have openly chastised the government for their lack of principles and manners.

A notice from the government, issued July 10, and available on their online platform, states that all vendors operating near the gas station, at the roundabout in Road Town, should cease their operations at the site.

This request took effect the very same day the notice was issued.

In response, the vendors informed BVI Platinum News that the ban on operating in the area was an abrupt one, with no official notice, meeting or conversation held with them about the ban.

They also noted that it was while conducting regular business the following day, they were all informed by persons of the community, who were passing along.

“A bit rude. They should have at least say this is your final week. They didn’t tell us nothing,” said Shallum Lloyd, also known as the Jelly Man.

Stella Hodge, who sold fruits and vegetables in the area, also noted that an official notice would’ve been good.

“Whatever they have to do, we have to abide by it, but a notice for us to move would’ve been ok. A letter
saying we have to move in a week or day.”

She added, “Just someone from the community told us this morning when we came out. Nobody gave us any notice, nothing. No official came with any warning or anything.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Hodge has already relocated her business to an empty parking lot, adjacent the Fire Station in Road Town.

She informed BVI Platinum News that the location is not as ideal, but she has no other choice.

“The new location is very different, but I have nowhere else to go. We have to wait and feel it out to see if persons would come here.”

She stated that they [vendors] are being encouraged to operate from the public vendors' market, but noted that the market is not an ideal location for business.

“Nobody can see you there. By the gas station had a heavy traffic of customers, who can see you and see what you have and come to buy.”

Shallum shared the same sentiments.

“It’s been coming a long time, so this is just the final thing I guess, but I don’t agree with the move. People have to eat and the market is not a good location. It’s hidden behind so many cars, people don’t see you; it's hard for sales.”

He continued, “In there don’t have no electricity, in there don’t have no traffic of people passing; ain't nobody behind there. If you go in there you are going to sleep, not to sell. From here, you get much more customer traffic, but I think they needed to give us some time, a notice.”

Shallum also noted that a bit of jealousy from persons in the community may have triggered the government’s decision as well.

“Some people in the community say that the we're hear ain't paying any tax, and people are paying rent and employing people. They think we are making too much money.”

As it relates to the ban, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works, Mr. Anthony McMaster, in the release issued on Monday, said the Ministry of Communications and Works, along with the Office of the City Manager, have become increasingly concerned about the manner in which vending is taking place throughout Road Town, and are considering locations for these vendors to carry out business.

Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
“After completing a thorough review, a decision has been made to immediately cease vending in specific areas, which we consider to have a negative impact in Road Town," McMaster stated.

He added, “As such, effective immediately, vending will be stopped in all areas, with the exception of the market, which was earmarked for vending, and from today, no vending will be permitted by or near the roundabout.”

He also noted that the Office of the City Manager will be reviewing all vending areas in Road Town and vendors should anticipate cease and desist letters, if they are situated in areas that have been identified as having a negative impact on the daily operations of the city.

The Permanent Secretary said that both the Ministry and the Office of the City Manager understand that it is important for persons to earn a living, and will keep this in mind while relocating businesses.

“We will work with vendors along with the Trade Department and Town and Country Planning, to ensure that adequate spaces are provided at specific areas within the confines of the city, whereby vending can take place under a legitimate means,” McMaster said.

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