Councils should permit vending

Dear Editor,

Vendors have the right to make a living for themselves and family. They provide  services to the people who may not have the time to go to a big store, or who may prefer purchasing from vendors to give them support.

Many vendors are single parents, some of whom may not have had the opportunity of higher education, but are ambitious to make a living in an honest way, working harder than thousands of persons who may be in an office. They get up early in the morning to take their items to display, and spend the day in the hot sun. We must try to find a way to help them without any scorn.

Other than providing a service to the people, vendors are also the marketing agents for farmers’ produce, local craft, sweetmeats and hundreds of other local items and food; vendors are small businesses and create more jobs than any other sector.

The big stores don’t purchase local items in large quantities, including fruit and vegetables. The producer is therefore forced to sell his or her produce by vending or walking and selling, especially if it is perishable. If you shut down vending, or hassle persons who walk and sell, you will be shutting down the marketing agencies for local producers.

While I have no problem with councils removing vendors who break the rules, this should be done after proper investigation and consultation, because many times vendors who are disciplined suffer because of the indisciplined ones. If you remove all vendors from a local area  the stores wouldn’t be able to handle the numbers of persons who shop from vendors, and you would only be allowing the rich to make money, while preventing the poor from creating a job for themselves.

Vendors can be regulated if the powers that be educate their staff who have the responsibility to keep them in order, not to take bribes, and ensure that the fees they collect go to the council.  By not making vending legal, local government staff have the opportunity to collect bribes in cash or kind, and the only way this can be stopped is to make vending legal.

Vendors can be charged for occupying space on a council reserve, which could bring in funds to the local authority. The main problem with vendors is sanitation, because most councils don’t provide for the removal of garbage, even though some vendors  may be paying a cleaning fee to the council. You can hardly find bins in any local government area to dispose of garbage, and vendors cannot be expected to go to the dumpsite.

The duty of a council is also to help in the creation of jobs in a local government area. I therefore call on local authorities to standardize and regulate vending.


Yours faithfully,

Michael Carrington, MP

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