Newton coconut vendors warned to clean-up

More coconut vendors have been told to clean up their act, or hit the road.

They were served that notice yesterday by representatives of the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs (BARVEN), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Energy and Business Development, and the Barbados Police Service.

The officials said that although they did not want to stop the vendors from earning a living, they had to remove old coconuts from the Newton, Christ Church section of the ABC Highway.

BARVEN president Alister Alexander was among those visiting around 12:45 p.m. yesterday following complaints about the unsightly nature of the area, as some shells had been left there for at least three weeks.

“BARVEN has always fought for the existence of coconut vendors to ensure they are not eliminated as business people. However, while BARVEN backs their right to live and make a living, they have no right to make a mess or endanger the health of the country or their customers . . . If we do not see a change, the vendors will have to go and we do not want that,” Alexander said.

The exercise followed a similar inspection on August 23 at Warrens, St Michael, where the vendors were told they needed to clear pile-ups of shells from the side of the busy road.

Those vendors had complained that the discarded shells were not theirs and they should not have to move them. They were adamant that they would not move the shells, but later that evening they had a change of heart and got them removed.

Since then, Alexander said there had been improvements at Warrens, but he suggested that greater monitoring will be necessary.

“We have seen a revolutionary change at Warrens. We are asking them to bring that supervision. We know human beings already and that individual who does not want to abide by anything lawful, will not, and that is why you need supervisors.” he added.

Similar to Warrens, several of the vendors at Newton told the officials the pile of discarded shells were not theirs and that the one responsible was not there at the time.

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