BASSETERRE, St. Kitts-Nevis (January 28, 2021) — The government of St. Kitts and Nevis is forging ahead with plans to find a viable solution to the street vending concern, that has developed in the Basseterre area in recent years.
Yesterday, it appointed Austin Farrier, of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, to head a new Inter-Ministerial Committee that will examine and report on the matter of street vending, in the city center of Basseterre.
Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, supported by Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Andrew Skerritt, met with Farrier on Wednesday, to discuss matters, pertaining to the possible relocation of street vendors.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed that his administration supports the entrepreneurial spirit and small business operations in the country, but noted that the overcrowding of the streets in Basseterre by vendors, exposes pedestrians, particularly the differently-abled and the elderly, to risks and hazards, posed by oncoming traffic.
“So we have put together a broad-based committee, drawing representation from within the various departments and ministries of government, and extending beyond that, to include representation from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, representation from those who are engaged in street vending et cetera, so that that committee could come together, in an organized way, discuss the matter and come up with viable solutions for addressing the street vending problem, which has been a perennial one, and one nonetheless — as part of our vision for beautiful Basseterre, where there is ease of passage accorded to everyone — we now have to solve, by looking at the short-term, medium-term and long-term,” Prime Minister Harris elaborated.
Farrier, an experienced planner within the Ministry of Sustainable Development, readily accepted the appointment to lead the committee, and noted that this matter has long been an area of concern for his ministry.
“We, at the Department of Planning, have always kept an eye on the vending situation in Basseterre. We have done several reports, as a matter of fact, on the vending situation, and we look forward to examining every possible solution to the situation — and we are hoping to come up with something that is sustainable,” he added.
In the past months, the government has urged more vendors to occupy the available stalls at the Basseterre Public Market, “as this would help reduce the congestion of the sidewalks around the capital”.
The full committee is expected to have representation from the Building Board, the Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Police Force, Ministry of Agriculture, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Transportation Board, Inland Revenue Department and representatives for the street vendors.