La Horquetta MP: Illegal vending is ‘not the correct approach’

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

La Horquetta/Talparo MP Foster Cummings. FILE PHOTO –

AFTER ten illegal vending stalls were destroyed in La Horquetta, Foster Cummings, the MP for the area, is reminding the public that they cannot “simply occupy state lands and property for such purposes” without considering all factors. In fact, he said none of the vendors ever approached him to discuss such business ventures.

On Thursday, workers from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) demolished the stalls, which included concrete structures.

In a press release, the HDC said the structures were incomplete and “illegally constructed on lands owned by the HDC at De Freitas Boulevard and Marjorie Padmore Avenue.”

It said these stalls were built without the HDC’s consent, adding that it was first informed of the stalls on January 10.

The HDC said that on January 16, it issued a cease-and-desist letter to the stalls’ owners.

“The letter informed the illegal occupants, some of whom the HDC believes are community residents, that they were required to immediately stop all construction work and vacate the HDC lands because their actions were unauthorised and constituted an illegal act of trespass. The letter also urged the offending parties to make contact with the HDC to resolve the matter amicably.”

But the construction continued.

“The act of trespass is unlawful. The development of land requires statutory approval and consent from the land owner,” the HDC said.

Many of the residents said vending was a means of helping people earn an honest living.

Asked about this on Friday, Cummings said he understands and empathises with those who were perhaps seeking to find ways and means of earning an income.

“The point is, however, that it is not the correct approach to simply occupy state lands and property for such purposes, without due consideration for all the factors which may impinge on such ambitions.

“Further to this, I had no prior knowledge of the intentions of those residents who acted in their own interest, apparently without reference to anyone in the HDC, or with my own office, for that matter. No one approached me for any discussions over their intentions for erecting the structures, which have now been taken down.”

He urged the residents and those affected to “let good sense prevail” by finding “workable solutions…

“…To what now appears as an irritant matter, but which can be addressed amicably, to the mutual benefit of all concerned.”