Following this week’s Cabinet session, it was revealed that the government has given the Development Control Authority (DCA) the go-ahead to issue notices to vendors who currently ply their trade at Darkwood Beach.
However, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the United Progressive Party (UPP) said that before this is done there is a need for a comprehensive plan and consultation with vendors to ensure that a mutually beneficial arrangement is derived.
“I think the government needs to develop a policy, a plan, a framework with respect to beach vending so that the vendors would understand what are their rights and what are their responsibilities so as to not … deal with it in an ad hoc manner. I believe before the government can give vendors notice there must be some level of dialogue, there must be some level of consultation with the individuals that operate that site,” Cortright Marshall said on OBSERVER AM
In Cabinet on Wednesday, the Government demanded that uniformed mobile stalls be used to replace unsightly booths evident along Darkwood Beach, in particular, and to address the crowding of the beaches’ green spaces and sand dunes by vendors with unattractive stalls.
The Minister of Information, Melford Nicholas, explained the decision in the post-Cabinet press briefing saying, “I think we wouldn’t want to have a situation where the type of activity that takes place ultimately destroys the product. And the disorderly development of vending on that beach or any other beach could actually lead to some undesirable outcomes.”
He added that allowing the stalls to remain as is could be a health risk.
Noting this, Nicholas also said that funding may be made available to assist with this initiative.
“One of the things that we may want to look at and we had discussed looking at is whether or not we could assist even through the Entrepreneurial Development Fund, assisting some of these vendors in getting to a more uniformed position,” Nicholas said.
According to the Cabinet notes, the awful-looking compartments occupy space “normally utilized as resting
places by families and tourists who visit the popular beach on the south coast of Antigua.”
The Cabinet therefore took a decision to require stalls that can be removed nightly, and that are identical in appearance to those at Long Bay and Galley Bay.
The number of stalls or booths will also be limited in order to leave space for beachgoers.