Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Savannah coconut vendors cry discrimination; urge Rambachan to intervene

A coconut cart in POS
Coconut vendors who work around the Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain are meeting Wednesday with the mayor of the city, Louis Lee Sing, at the mayor's request.

Lee Sing wants to regulate coconut vending around the Savannah and charge vendors a fee of $700 a month. So far he has not followed through with his plan and the vendors are hoping he would change his mind.

The Coconut Vendors Association said in June Lee Sing announced that he would only allow four vendors around the Savannah. The vendors say this is unfair since they are a part of the historic area, having been there for generations. 

"We have been vending around the Savannah for decades. Images of our coconut vans are known world wide, artistes have put to cards have been made with our images, even commercials," the Vendors Association said in a media release.

"We do not yet know what the Mayor is proposing but it is not fair that any fine be imposed against us simply to park our vans/carts around the QPS and sell fresh coconuts," the association added.

It also said it appears that the mayor is penalising them since others such as doubles and gyro operators don't have to pay to conduct their business. "On independence Square there are countless carts and vendors plying their trade- rent free," the association said. 

It added, "It's not fair to discriminate against coconut vendors. It's a very hard means of earning a living but we take pride in what we do because it spans generations...we simply want to continue making a living as we did before."

The group is calling on Local Government Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan to intervene on the vendors' behalf.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai