Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tobago Vendors Cry After being displaced

Police over look the demolition of booths
at the Port in Scarborough. Photo courtesy TobagoNews
Tempers flared and tears flowed as the hammers of the Public Health Department came down on several dilapidated booths outside the Scarborough Port on Carrington Street on Sunday.

Public Health officials and staff of the Division of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, under the watchful eyes of police officers, swooped down on the booths just after sunrise and began demolishing the structures that have formed part of the landscape of that area for a number of years.

One of the affected vendors, Jemilyn Forbes told Tobago News she is devastated by the development. “Right now my head spinning like a top and my heart just racing up and I find it was real unfair because they taking rent from me on the Port,” the vendor lamented.

She explained that her struggles with the issue began about three years ago when she got a visit from the Public Health officials who expressed concerns over the state of the booths. 


According to Forbes, a meeting was subsequently convened between the Port Authority and vendors. At that meeting, she recalled, the Port Authority promised to renovate the booths or relocate them. The discussion, she added, dragged on for some time 

“Just before Christmas they came and told us we had to move in three days; I said Mr Richardson, move to go where? He said if we don’t move, Health would break us down. I asked Mr Richardson, where will we go? You can’t just come so, now for now; this is the Christmas season, I now go and buy my goods and thing to sell,” Forbes told Tobago News. She said the group remained optimistic that the matter would have been resolved based on the assurances given by the Port Authority. The Richardson, she referred to is Kenneth Richardson, Manager of the Scarborough Port. He would not comment on the matter but referred us to Communications Specialist Velma Coburn, who said the vendors were asked to relocate to make provisions for the Scarborough Beautification Project. She promised to provide further details on the matter at a later time.

The affected vendors claim they have lost thousands of dollars in goods and sales because they recently updated their inventory over the Christmas season. “I am a single parent; where am I going from here; it is unfair knowing that I am paying my rent straight up,” the distraught vendor cried. She reiterated that what pains her is the fact that the Port was receiving rent over a three-year period without renovating the structures. “This will go further than this; I got no letter, just word of mouth; no official document stating that you would have to move by so and so date,” Forbes said. She remains hopeful that an amicable solution would be found to the matter.

Public Health officials could not be reached for a comment.

Source:Tobagonews

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