Horsford Hill vendors seek legal advice

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The souvenir vendors at Horsford Hill have consulted with an attorney in the ongoing dispute with the National Parks Authority (NPA).
The spokesperson for the group, who has been asked to be referred to as Oliver, told OBSERVER media last evening the lawyer will be writing to the NPA on their behalf shortly.
Their dispute with the NPA is over the lack of bathroom facilities and running water at the site where they have operated for over 20 years.
The situation worsened last Friday when police officers stopped taxi drivers from setting down cruise ship passengers by the
stalls on the main road, leading to the English Harbour area.
This also led to the arrest of United Progressive Party (UPP) caretaker for St Paul constituency, Gregory “Driftwood” Athill, who said he was standing in support of the vendors.
The sellers argued that the police clampdown was a vindictive directive from an NPA official.
But NPA Commissioner Ann-Marie Martin said the police were present to control the flow of traffic in the area.
She was supported by Head of the Traffic Department Assistant Superintendent of Police Leonard Cabral, who said drivers have been stopping in the area even though it is a no-parking zone.
In a follow-up interview on the weekend, the senior officer said the entire area is a no-parking zone, but many who know do not respect it, while others are not aware because the painted lines to indicate such were covered when the road was resurfaced.
“The concern is when the taxi brings the tourists to overlook the site at the Falmouth Harbour. The tourists will disembark the vehicle on one side of the road and cross over the other side to take photographs, thus blocking the usual flow of traffic,” ASP Cabral said.
The senior officer said the move on Friday is part of an onoing island-wide effort to address illegal parking.
Meanwhile, Clefrin Colbourne of the St John’s Taxi Association said it is not a right of the police or the National Parks Authority to dictate how tours are conducted.
According to him, the Horsford Hill areas, opposite the vendor’s mart, is the nearest point where taxi drivers are able to take their passengers for a photo opportunity because most of the visitors are unable to afford the US$8 fee to enter the Dockyard facility.
“Most of them ask whether the fee is included in their taxi fare which is US $25 per person; it is not and they don’t want to add another US $8 to that,” Colbourne said.
He suggested that the NPA should reduce the entrance fee in order to gain the support of all the operators.

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