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Thursday, 27 August 2015 13:13

Local Government must do more for vendors – Chamber President

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The entrance of the Old Harbour Market since police introduce its zero tolerance policy against street vending The entrance of the Old Harbour Market since police introduce its zero tolerance policy against street vending

Adrian Samuda, interim president of the Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce (OHCC), says with the police having rid the streets of vending, stakeholders must shift their focus towards helping vendors operate in an environment that’s conducive to ply their wares.

In a communiqué to its members, Samuda commended the Old Harbour Police for its zero tolerance approach towards street vending but also noted the importance of the work of vendors to the macro and micro economy of the town and Jamaica in general.

Said the Chamber President: “The Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce supports growth and development of the business district and the wider communities. The Chamber’s position is that all government bodies have a role to play in Old Harbour realizing sustainable development and growth. The market place is more competitive as improved roads have drawn businesses outside of Old Harbour closer.

“The police’s role is to protect and serve the business community. Protecting and serving entails having free and clean sidewalks and roadways. Businesses will attract more customers because of less commuter frustration due to traffic. The police will be able to move freely if an incident arises.

“We must ensure that the police protect and serve. We must also realize and understand that the vendors that we want off the street are fundamental to our micro economy. They too have a multiplier effect on all segment of our economy both micro and macro. We want them in business also; therefore we must ensure that a proper space with all the necessary facility is in place for them to have sustainable businesses. We have to admit that the market condition is poor. The market is not attractive to both vendors and customers.

“Now that the streets are clean and traffic moving smoothly. Let us say congratulation to the new police commander. Let us now turn our attention to the local government bodies to create facilities for our vendors and customers. We have to ensure that all businesses survive. Let us put our minds, efforts, connections and pens together to assist the vendors. We do not need any fall out in our local economy.”

And in an effort to continue dialogue with the people the police, headed by chief commander DSP David White, will host a third meeting with stakeholders this evening at the Portmore Community College, Old Harbour Campus.

The OHCC president is urging members of the business community to come out in their numbers for the meeting scheduled to start at 6:00 pm.

The campaign to rid the streets of vending, which although still illegal under Jamaican law is a widespread practice across the country, began since the transfer of DSP White earlier this month.

But the higglers have long argued that the market, which is owned and operated by Local Government agency the St Catherine Parish Council, is in an unhealthy state. They cite poor sanitary facility, lighting and security as reasons for selling on the streets.

In a recent meeting with the higglers, organized by the police, the St Catherine Parish Council stated that only 26 of the 300 available spaces in the market are occupied by paid-up registered vendors.

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