Mon | Oct 14, 2019

No final decision on streetside food vendors – KSAMC

Published:Wednesday | October 9, 2019 | 12:15 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
Owen Buddle cracks a joke with Stacy Bremmer while serving her a cup of vegetable soup along the Negril main road in Westmoreland in this 2006 Gleaner file photo.
Owen Buddle cracks a joke with Stacy Bremmer while serving her a cup of vegetable soup along the Negril main road in Westmoreland in this 2006 Gleaner file photo.

Minority leader Councillor Andrew Swaby yesterday sought to ascertain the position of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) on food vendors across the Corporate Area.

His questions followed a statement from Town Clerk Robert Hill that “no decision has been finalised on this issue as the municipality must prudently exercise its responsibility under the Public Health Act and Sale of Goods Act”.

Hill was speaking at the KSAMC’s monthly meeting at its Church Street offices in downtown Kingston yesterday.

In August, Duane Smith, chairman of the Commercial Services Committee, warned that food vendors who did not get their businesses registered with the KSAMC by mid-November would have their carts impounded in a move to regulate the street food sector.

Swaby, who is the councillor for the Vineyard Town Division, asked, “Who am I supposed to believe?”

He further asked when such a decision was made by the KSAMC for the vendors to be registered within that timeline.

SERIOUS ISSUE

While not denying what was reported in the media, Smith said that regulating food vending in the municipality was a serious issue.

“Since being given the opportunity to chair the Commercial Services Committee, there is not one meeting that has gone by that I have not stated my concern about the market district, my concern about the illegal vending throughout the municipality. In more recent months, I have spoken specifically about my concern about the mobile food cart industry. However, Councillor Swaby and his team, as you know, have been distracted in the last several months,” Smith said.

But this comment was met with rebuke by People’s National Party councillors, who called on Smith to speak to the issue.

Smith then said, “Currently, the city has no record of all the food vendors across the city, and not only is it a concern about the order and structure within the city, it also affects our food safety and food security. Consequently, the municipality is looking towards finalising the food vending industry as set out in our Public Health Act.”