Vendors prefer the sidewalk

Vegetables for sale on the streets of Roseau
Vegetables for sale on the streets of Roseau

It all comes down to money.

Sidewalk vendors in Roseau argue that they are making more of it at their various strategic locations scattered throughout the city than in the confines of a place, like the Roseau Market.

Last week city officials expressed concerns over the level of vending on the streets of the capital with the mayor of Roseau, Irene John, proposing a special location just for them. She noted that she wanted to see a more organized and attractive city.

Roseau Market Superintendent, Julius Carbon, added his voice to the matter saying  sidewalk vending and the sale of market produce on the streets are long standing issues that need to be addressed.

DNO took to the streets on Monday to get an idea of why some vendors prefer to sell on the sidewalk and why it is an advantage to them.

One vendor, who said she is from from Grand Bay, stated that she has a disabled child and a family who depend on her to survive. According to her, it is difficult to make a good sale in the market.

“We staying in the market and we not selling nothing, and when we stay by the roadside, we can sell a few things …. the market doesn’t have no sale at all, at all, at all,” she stated.

Another vendor pitched in saying she used to sell in the market fulltime but when she saw the level of sale going down, she decided to switch to the sidewalks and “hustle the money.”

“I coming in the week, because things are very, very slow …so when we stay by the road side we even helping the tourists,” she stated.

The vendor, who sells vegetable and other goods, stated, “here is a small place, little Dominica, I find is not a problem to be selling by the roadside.”

She said she has been to bigger countries, like England, and there are vendors on the sidewalks of many towns and cities.

Both vendors said that when they requested a license for their location, they were told by past mayor, Cecil Joseph, that they could not receive one.

Other vendors DNO spoke to said they were interested to know the location of the special place being proposed by the mayor.

They said they are eager to know if that place will be able help them support their families.


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  1. Concerned
    February 13, 2014

    I am in total disagreement with the vending on the sidewalks, it makes the city very untidy. If everybody goes to the market then the buyers will go to the market. But if some go and others are allowed to stay then people patronize what is in their way.
    To the mayor and the other authorities, I say get rid of the road side vending. There are no sidewalks to accommodate the pedestrian in an already crowded place with vehicles parking on the side-walks which are already limited.
    Put some order in the place man.
    Alternatively, clean up one of the empty lots in Roseau, and lease to the vegetable vendors if they want a centralised location. Something needs to be done. Fix up the sidewalks for pedestrian. No one wants to be tumbling into a tray of goods.

  2. Seriously?
    February 11, 2014

    Is it really that difficult to create a plan that provides attractive, hygenic vending carts to vendors and have only one per block? That way they can get the street exposure, add to the beauty of the city, convenience for buyers and they can pay for the carts so possibly more funds for the city council?

  3. Anonymous
    February 11, 2014

    Who am I to talk…..I don’t see what you see, I leave I the USA, but do I hate Roseau…I am a country girl…and when I go home I eat only fig…roast boil ripe name it….the fig in America na nice…I can do without side walk food….I just cut down daddy fig tree, and he always put some to ripe in pyy fig for me….Roseau na nice…fig on street or not…

  4. Just Wrong
    February 11, 2014

    People are saying that London and NY etc. have sidewalk vendors. Yes, I agree to that but London and NY have sidewalk space for vendors plus people. In Roseau, one lady with a small tray blocking the whole sidewalk and every other citizen must risk their life walking in the street.

    • Malgraysa
      February 12, 2014

      Not only that, try to set it up a pavement stall in London without a license and see what happens. Some so called fly-pitchers may try it especially during the holidays but the police will raid them without mercy. Why you think these countries are more advanced than us, why most of our people would give a lot to go and live there? I love my country but why not have some progress here too?

  5. Educator
    February 11, 2014

    There are many derelict building in Roseau. What if the government bought some of those old buildings a scatter a few farmers markets aound town – nicely designed and painted with some vibrant colour. The government would then rent the space to the vendors to recoup their money over time.

    I think there could be a win win for everyone. People would have easy access to the markets. Vendors would have a place to sell, a place with high traffic. The town council would have cleaner city. Pedestrians would get better access to the sidewalks.

    I think everybody bebefits from that arrangement.

    If the government will not do that, there is a good business opportunity for a budding entrepreneur.

  6. February 11, 2014

    Government should talk action to solve issues for this country do not allowed a few folks who only for there selfs too slow progress.

  7. Florida
    February 11, 2014

    Extend the Roseau Market by building up on the existing building. Selling food on the road side is not acceptable. This could never happen in the states.

    The vendors are to impossible, it is not what they want. Some of them are so rude they push their produce in your faces. People can’t even walk on the side walk any more or even use a wheel chair on the side walks because they have taken over the side walks. They need to be fined!!

    • February 12, 2014

      Have you been to NY?They have their store and they put stuff right on the sidewalk and I love it.Florida is different.You have open markets or flea markets all over the place.

  8. Anonymous
    February 11, 2014

    A tourist to the island just described the BAYFRONT as TENT CITY! So if that’s the brand you like put it in your pipe and smoke it till you are high. Our Ghetto mentality will always keep us in the ghetto!

  9. SD
    February 11, 2014

    This is a good debate. Especially for all those that Cry we need International Airport. Yes we need and should have one, but not until all these “small issues” are sorted out. Can’t have international visitors coming in hundreds or thousands and we still acting like Afghanistan. We poor, but not we need that poor. Organise properly, rebuild the market as it’s not very inviting. But permits for all. The only way you can demand and inspect quality and fit for purpose.

    February 11, 2014

    Tell them when people cannot find them on the corner or in the street they will come to the market. also there should be standards for cleanliness and presentation that come with obtaining a vendors license. How are the other islands such as Barbados or St. Marteen dealing with the issue?

    • IT
      February 12, 2014

      Swan Street in Barbados had vendors on both sides of the street. The street use to be so crowded. To solve the problem, a mall was built at the top of the street. If I recall clearly, the fruit and vegetable vendors were placed at the bottom of the building and the other vendors at the top.

  11. patriot
    February 11, 2014

    Like every one of us they are trying to make a living however i am confident that if they are placed in a well organized area shoppers will come and buy.Change is often difficult to accept at first but it can be for the best.

  12. grell
    February 11, 2014

    You all dont like change if we are going to market dominica,we have to get rid of the ghetto mentality,our ancestors sold all their goods @ the market.thats why i do not buy from the street vendors.also you all need to practice good personal hygiene,the city smells with all of you scattered all over.

  13. crucial
    February 11, 2014

    I support the move to move the vendors I have to walk in the middle of the road with my daughter when walking on the street. We have no sidewalk in Roseau.

  14. JoJo
    February 11, 2014

    Obviously those vendors want to be on the sidewalk, that’s why there in the first place. But the general public that has to put up with the mess and inconvenience has a say too and I think they will say NO, get that organised and cleaned up!

  15. hmmm
    February 11, 2014

    Since the vendors do not want to move, then they may have to start charging us for buying illegally from these road side vendors who do not have permits to sell. Maybe that might work.

  16. Anonymous
    February 11, 2014

    the vendors simply need to be more ‘organized’… but roadside vending is part of what makes a town…

    • February 12, 2014

      I like the sidewalk vending.Dont know if it is because I am so used to it in Ny.When i come out by Whitchurch,I buy outside and dont have to go to the market in the hot sun and by 11 clock their is nothing left that looks good.

  17. February 11, 2014

    I understand that vendors are trying their best to make ends meet, but at the same it’s a big inconvenience to the pedestrians and to the tourist to get access to the side walks which are occupied by the vendors. If all vendors are at the market then the customers will go there to buy.

    • CF
      February 11, 2014

      I support the fact that it can be an inconvenience to pedesstrians and tourists alike. But to go all the way to the market and my bus stop is by Jolly’s is a burden too me when i can pick up a few vegies on the way…

      • JoJo
        February 11, 2014

        What is the matter with people? it is five minutes walk from Jolly’s to the market If we all have to use vehicle all the time God would have given us wheels instead of legs. Walk, it is good for you!

      • Sentibon
        February 11, 2014

        You need the exercise.

  18. no name
    February 11, 2014

    I see no problem in vendors selling on the sidewalks as long as they do not obstruct the way and hassle people to buy their stuff when they are passing. As the vendor said, in the UK there are many vendors on the side walk infront of shops selling, I buy from them myself because sometimes you want just one one item and you don’t want to go to the supermarket just for that one item. These sidewalk vendors come in handy,leave them alone as long as they don’t disturb people and clean up when they leaving.

  19. chill out nuh
    February 11, 2014

    when you walk through the streets of new York and London you see road side vendors all the time. I’ve been to most Caribbean cities and see the same. so why are we hassling our people for. of course the mayor lives well off an is far from the realities of the little man trying to make a dollar.
    so tell de town council chill out nuh.

    • February 12, 2014

      @chill out nuh February 11, 2014

      It is this foolish idea of yours which has ruined the way of Life for everyone. “If the are doing it why can’t we”? How foolish!!!!!

      My question is why do we have to do what everybody else is doing–why can’t adjust to our unique ways?

  20. Tetemorne I From..
    February 11, 2014

    If competition is tough in the marketplace, why can’t they sell on the sidewalks? Aall u are making a big deal about nothing. Live and let live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Duncekyat
    February 11, 2014

    Q: You know who else prefer side walks?

    A: The PEDESTRIANS who are forced to compete with vehicles for right of way on the streets because the vendors have claimed the sidewalks!

  22. February 11, 2014

    Well it is all about money, and the vendors will prefer the sidewalks, in that those who buy their product may not have the choice, but to accept what they are selling, since it is time consuming to walk from vendor to vendor on the various locations on the sidewalk, to discover the better product.

    However the problem still remains–that sidewalk vending is bad for the face of the City–which is the place where the tourist would normally enter–on his or her visit to the Island.

    Also it is dangerous for pedestrians who have no place to walk, and so they are swerving between the moving vehicles on the streets which are already too small for the congestion cars, trucks, vans, buses, and of course–working and emergency vehicles.

    In 2008, when I was in Dominica, I almost got crushed to death between a parked vehicle and I mod a moving, huge bus, for there was no place on the sidewalk for me to walk because of that sidewalk vending calamity -my guardian angel must have saved my Life.

    The authorities of the City has to construct a single location for all vendors; that is the only solution. Vendors will have their same customers and they will make their same money.

    Also, if the vendors are in the same venue, that should influence them to bring good products for sale, knowing that buyers will have the choice to search for the best.

    That is what the vendors are afraid of, that is why they prefer the sidewalk vending. However they are the only ones who is benefiting from that function–that is for sure.

  23. grandma
    February 10, 2014

    I leave on st Thomas and one must see the number of vendors all around the island. I believe those vendors should have a license to do business. Then the council would allocate areas where they can operate not anywhere on the street. And that would also control the number who can operate in those areas.

  24. just thinking
    February 10, 2014

    Although our sidewalks are narrow, with little space to move, and it’s not all wheelchair accessible, the council can make it comfortable for every one, including the vendors.

  25. just thinking
    February 10, 2014

    I am just thinking of having the vendors on the sidewalks of Roseau. There could be vendors on the sidewalks, but not alll types of vendors. Those who sell agricultural produce should bo in the market, and those who sell clothes and cooked food could remain. Tourists walk in Roseau for shoping, and they like to buy from these vendors, because they do the same in other countries, it’s like comunity tourism to them. The tourist would say they rather buy from the local than going to the stores. If the Council is thinking of contribution, they can ask them to make a contribution for the upliftment of the town.

  26. Sentibon
    February 10, 2014

    Right or wrong? Vendor power?

  27. February 10, 2014

    Theres other issues in Roseau need to be tackled, I driven in Roseau three weeks ago and I seen signs are not in place some one way roads in Roseau luckly I know the one way roads the meyer should give this attention as well.

    • Malgraysa
      February 12, 2014

      That is a major issue with me also. How does one know which is a one-way street or not, without proper signs? That is difficult enough for a local, never mind a visitor. Secondly, not all streets have name signs. Thirdly, some businesses are shortsighted by putting a “no parking sign in front of their business, so the owner can have his vehicle there. Obviously, in a case like that customer interest comes second. I always say they don’t need my business!

  28. Satelite
    February 10, 2014

    Now that is what I call “stuck between a rock and a hard place”

  29. right-on
    February 10, 2014

    Roseau is just poorly designed and constructed(as a capital city of a nation). In my humble opinion, i would scrap Roseau (or the majority of it) and re-build it into something sensible and improved.

  30. Bonjaiiiiiii
    February 10, 2014

    yesiii, but they have roseau untidy, ppl cana even walk on sidewalk, so conjested.. i understand for hustling the money but honstly too much ppl on sidewalk man trust me

  31. anonymous
    February 10, 2014

    in englang yes thats so BUT its part of the building you have at list 4to 5 feet then footpath in dominica its not so ..also there are market days in the towns

  32. disapponted
    February 10, 2014

    I totally agree to the relocation, Yal not suppose to like the sidewalk sorry to say no offense, I believe where ever u are re located your customers will follow, so tired of having to walk through town dodging tents and still trying to keep up the hustle and bustle of traffic and ppl ,at the end of the day everyone gotta make their money,it sounds like a good idea to have everything in one place that’s my opinion

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