Wednesday 27 May, 2020

Vendors to stay on Charlotte St

Charlotte Street vendors will be able to retain their space in the capital city following a meeting with the Port of Spain Corporation on Monday.

Attorney Gerald Ramdeen, who represented the 126 members of the Charlotte Street Heritage Roots Vendors Market, submitted a pre-action protocol letter to Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez and the Port of Spain City Corporation, threatening legal action if the vendors were not returned to the programme within 24 hours.

It only took a few hours after the letter was delivered for the decision of the mayor to be rescinded. The vendors in this matter have been victorious in their fight. They will continue to earn a living and vend on Charlotte Street.”

The letter said the Corporation's action to move the vendors was "unlawful, illegal, irrational and unreasonable".

The letter was submitted before Monday’s meeting, which was attended by Martinez, the City Council, Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Kazim Hosein and Port of Spain East MP Marlene McDonald.

Ramdeen said to LoopTT that it was clear that the Corporation failed to fulfil its commitments to keep the programme running smoothly, as per Cabinet Minute No. 819 which outlined the rules of the programme.

“The pre-action protocol letter exhibited the Cabinet Minute…that formed the legal basis on which the vendors can vend on Charlotte Street. I hope that today the mayor and the city understand that vendors have an entitlement by virtue of that Cabinet Minute.”

“I think it’s a very significant day for the people of Charlotte Street who, day by day, earn an honest living and have been very upset over the past few weeks over the way in which they have been treated,” he said.

He said he and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar worked tirelessly to ensure the pre-action protocol letter would be submitted on time so that the City Council and the mayor would understand “extent of the unlawfulness” undertaken in the matter.

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“I hope that this is the last time the vendors of Charlotte Street are treated in this manner by any administration,” Ramdeen said.

Ramdeen added that vendors are willing to work together with the Corporation to ensure that order and traffic flow are maintained on Charlotte Street.

“As evidenced by the Cabinet Minute, there were things that were supposed to be done by the Corporation and by the vendors."

"I can speak on behalf of the vendors that they are prepared to work with the Corporation in the exercise of their right to vend and that it is done in a regulated manner that is cordial and respectful.”

“I don’t think the vendors want illegal vending on Charlotte Street either, but what they do want, as per the Cabinet Minutes are the things that the Corporation was supposed to do.”

“Vendors would like to work with the Corporation, they would like to strengthen the relationship and they want to ensure that when they vend on Charlotte Street, they do it in a manner that works in accord with the environment and that they allow the Corporation to do what they have to in terms of cleaning, policing, and ensuring that those who are legally registered with the programme are allowed to vend,” Ramdeen said.


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