CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — Superintendent of Police Lyndon David, Divisional Commander of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, Nevis Division, has expressed satisfaction with vendors’ response as the police enforce a long-standing law prohibiting roadside vending in Charlestown.
David said the police took that course of action as of Aug. 27 after mounting concern for the safety and security of the public and vehicle owners who come to the capital on a daily basis.
“We have seen cooperation by all vendors. Vendors that I normally see on the road, I no longer see them there… I want to thank everyone who has cooperated with the police in terms of having received the letter and they complied.
“We have realised, having since issued the letter, traffic flow tends to be much better… There are no impediments of persons being on the side purchasing or even for parking, so you have a little extra parking area,” the police superintendent said.
On Aug. 24, a letter issued to vendors and signed by the superintendent, refers to Section (3) of Chapter 8.01 of the Vending Prohibition Ordinance which prohibits vending on the streets, sidewalks, public squares and any other public areas in the island’s capital.
Guided by the ordinance, the police warned vendors to immediately desist from doing business in prohibited places and warned anyone who acts in contravention of the law, under Section (5) of the same chapter, commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months.
The senior police officer said their enforcement of the law is not intended to prevent anyone from earning an income, because persons have depended on vending in Charlestown for a living for many years.
“We are saying, yes, everyone has to be employed” David said. “Everyone has a right to earn their money legally but in the end, we also have a law that has been violated and as a result, we realised the dangers that came about and we have rectified it.”
The Nevis Island Administration supported the police to enforce the law. Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, made that position clear at a recent press conference.
He said, Nevis is not a lawless country and as such the police should enforce the laws of the land.
“Too often, members of the public are deciding what laws they can break and what laws must be abided by,” Brantley said. “In a country based on the rule of law, all laws must be obeyed, whether its intent, laws as to public lewdness, laws on creating a nuisance, litter laws, you name them, all laws must be obeyed and until such time they are repealed, they have to be obeyed.
“I want to make that very clear, and I have said to the police high command at our regular meetings, that we want the laws of the island enforced… I applaud the police because they are enforcing the law.” He said. “That’s what they are doing… We must, as a society, support what is right and support the law enforcement and the police in doing what is right.”
Vending by food vendors in Charlestown on Fridays and Saturdays continues to be permissible, but consent must be granted by the relevant authorities.