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Arima market vendors up in arms over new rules
Several vendors at the Arima Public Market are up in arms over the decision by the Arima Borough Corporation to close gates that allow customers into a section of the market.
They said they were losing sales since the closure was a major inconvenience to them and customers.
However, mayor Lisa Morris-Julian said the corporation will insist on maintaining order.
She said, “The particular gate that they are asking for is a haven to illegal activity...We are not gonna back down.”
The vendors took their concerns to political leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah and met with the media yesterday.
They pay $75 for their stalls which are covered with tattered-looking tarpaulins. Some vendors occupy as many as six stalls. Close to 300 vendors inside and outside of the market along with the public have access to four washrooms. They said they have no parking facilities and pay “high fees” to keep their vehicles safe.
Abdulah said, “To have people operating in this kind of way is being extremely disrespectful to vendors who come here earning a decent, honest living, working hard and providing a service to hundreds of people in not just Arima proper, but many surrounding districts.”
He said people would not have safe access out of the busy and crowded market in an emergency with the gate locked.
David Best, a member of the Arima Vendor’s Association said the chief executive officer of the corporation gave instructions for two gates to be locked.
He said there was a breakdown in discussions, however one gate was unlocked.
Mayor: We are not backing down
Morris-Julian, who was at the market, told the media it was unfortunate that part of the story was being told.
She claimed the people making the noise were the ones “not paying their dues” and were encroaching on the garbage area and against along the fence.
She said, “We all know that Arima, like a few other markets...that we have illicit and illegal activities, namely drugs and illegal vending. With regards to the gate, the association invited the Fire Service and they agreed with us that one gate should be opened. We not gonna back down. We gonna insist that we have order in the Arima market. We not going to support or condone illegal activity.”
Arima MP Anthony Garcia, who partnered with the corporation to treat fathers to breakfast at the market, said, “I just spoke to the president of the vendor’s association and I have made arrangements for him to come and see me in my office. In addition to that, I will speak to the mayor and members of council to see how best we can resolve the situation.”