Potential curtomers examine items on the tray of a vendor along Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain. ABRAHAM DIAZ

The Port-of-Spain City Corporation (POSCC) will embark on a registration exercise for vendors in St James within the next month. Shortly after, a similar process will be introduced for vendors in the capital city of Port-of-Spain.

This is according to Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez who admitted illegal and unregulated street vending has gotten out of hand. Speaking on CNC 3’s The Morning Brew, Martinez described the issue as a “bugbear for the city.”

He said while he understands why there has been a proliferation of street vendors in recent times, it cannot be allowed to continue.

“Yes, I understand that times are difficult and that vending is a product of difficult economies, but when it gets out of hand, it becomes a problem,” he said, adding that while difficult times encourage people to do things differently, it is still no excuse to break the law.

He said: “Some people may not have wanted to end up being a vendor but due to the circumstances, they have to make a living and they find whatever possible means they can without having to turn to crime to be able to sustain their families, so I empathize with them.”

Commenting on plans for the revitalisation of Port-of-Spain, Martinez said: “You can’t build a capital city with chaos. You have to at some stage manage the situation. It’s not as if we don’t want vendors because we have structured the Charlotte Street vendors and we have allowed them to have a contract to feel a sense of independence and purpose.”

Martinez said a registration form is currently being developed for the exercise in St James and will be tweaked before it is presented to vendors in Port-of-Spain.

He said city officials could not continue to use police resources to constantly remove vendors and also attend court hearings, so the new process of being developed to deal with illegal street vending once and for all.