Water Square vendors have until Monday to leave
Come Monday, Falmouth's mayor, Councillor Colin Gager, will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that the promise he made in his inauguration speech, that he will be putting an end to vending in the town's historic Water Square, is kept.
"Pedestrians must be able to walk freely without having to be begging vendors to allow them to pass," the mayor said, while addressing the monthly sitting of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation. "My intention is to have the town a thing of beauty so that people can feel comfortable in its surroundings."
According to Gager, the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), which manages the Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier, has expressed a willingness to adopt Water Square, but is not prepared to do so unless there is some semblance of order.
"My company has budgeted $600,000 to start the operation as soon as the vendors are removed," said PAJ official Mark Hylton. "As soon as the first week has passed and there is no vending, we will begin to work on the promise to adopt the square with the mayor."
... Say they are ready to move
In recent weeks, Colin Gager, mayor of Falmouth, has been meeting with vendors to work out the logistics of them moving from the historic Water Square to another location. So far, two lanes have been identified near the town centre to host the vendors. Lighting is now being put in place to have the areas ready for use.
"I have my clients and once I am here in Falmouth, they will find me, so I have no problem with moving," said 'Shorty', who has been selling cooked food in the seaside town for 25 years.
The mayor is hoping that there will not be another breach of his relocation order, which was implemented during the Christmas season. The vendors had moved to the town's new market for a few days, but returned to the square, citing unsuitable conditions.
"I am hoping that I will not have to resort to drastic measures," said Gager, "but if I have to, then that will be done. There is absolutely no way that I am going back on my word."
The removal of the vendors should be good news for legitimate business operators in Water Square, such as petrol station operator Richard Shirley, whose businesses have suffered because of the great discomfort their customers have been exposed to in terms of easy access.