Vendors’ managers backtrack change

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Protest action by some vendors yesterday forced the St. John’s Development Corporation (SJDC) to rescind a decision regarding the vendors’ relocation during the seasonal vending period and a deadline to end street vending for that specific group.
Yesterday, more than a dozen placard carrying vendors picketed outside the Heritage Quay Vendors Mall where the administration office of the SJDC is located and there they demanded a meeting with Craig Whyte, the executive director of the corporation.
The vendors, who are actually storeowners who also operate on the street during the seasonal vending period, were annoyed after learning that they would not be allowed to sell on the street outside the V.C. Bird bust on lower Market Street and lower All Saints Road during the carnival season.
“They (SJDC) want to put us inside the fence with Papa “VC” and the fact of the matter is nobody goes in there to buy anything. We are not going to agree to that because as store owners we have to pay our monthly rent then we have to pay $360 for seasonal vending,” one boutique store owner said.
The area to which the vendors were being asked to utilised is fenced in on lower All Saints Road.
OBSERVER media was told that seasonal vending for the “Up Town” merchants, who operate stores within the St. John’s Public Market means they have to pay $360 to sell on the street on special occasions such as Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas among other periods.
After the vendors went to the SJDC, Whyte accommodated them in the conference room of the Heritage Hotel.
The reporter was outside the highly charged meeting which carried on for approximately 30 minutes. The dialogue became loud at times with store owners talking over each other and interrupting the discussion.
However, the session concluded with loud applause and vendors expressing gratitude to Whyte for his intervention.
The vendors said the $360 which they’re always required to pay, covered a period of one month which would include the carnival season beginning from July 1, but, this year it was changed to July 14 through August 11.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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