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New mayor goes after Charlotte St vendors

Friday, February 26, 2016
Port-of-Spain mayor Keron Valentine, flanked by council members, unveils a banner in support of the United Nation’s campaign to eradicate violence against women and girls, titled Orange the World, after yesterday’s monthly statutory meeting at City Hall.

Newly-appointed mayor of Port-of-Spain Keron Valentine says his immediate focus will be illegal vending on Charlotte Street and the reintroduction of a wrecking policy in the capital.

He is expected to announce the wrecking policy for the city at a news conference today.

“The wrecking policy will focus primarily on motorists who block burgesses’ driveways, who park on sidewalks and indiscriminately on corners.

“That was the initial plan. It will focus pri-marily on burgesses affected when their driveways are being blocked,” he said.

The new mayor said so yesterday at the first statutory meeting since he was sworn in as mayor on February 17 to replace former mayor Raymond Tim Kee.

He said he would be visiting Charlotte Street to observe a situation which had become unruly in recent times.

“There are a lot of wrong things going on there. There are a lot of illegal vendors there and people are blocking up the road which is a problem for emergency services.

“We will be treating with the Charlotte Street situation aggressively,” Valentine added.

He said there would be a restructuring of the programme which allowed vendors to sell on the street.

A walk on Charlotte Street yesterday showed vendors lining both sides of the pavement selling a range of goods including fresh produce, herbs, kitchen towels, toy cars, underwear and pirate CDs.

Belmont taxis manoeuvre down the street slowly to avoid the pedestrian traffic and people milling about to purchase items.

Valentine said some of the vendors were not authorised by the corporation and would be moved.

He noted that discus-sions were still ongoing to find a location to place vendors from the Salvatori site on Frederick Street.

Vendors are required to vacate the Salvatori site by Monday.

Valentine, who was 30 minutes late to the city corporation’s statutory meeting yesterday and failed to attend a speaking engagement at the University of the West Indies’

St Augustine Campus on Wednesday, said the mayor’s scheduled had proved to be challenging.

He responded to criticism over missing the scheduled speaking appointment: 

“I had to be at the East Dry River to get the Zika campaign off the ground.” 

He said the campaign included a clean-up exercise of the river and removing shacks set up there by the homeless.