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Gov’t clampdown on unlicensed vendors

| 18/06/2015 | 17 Comments

(CNS Business): Tourism bosses tell CNS Business it’s time to put a stop to unlicensed vendors and operations happening along our beaches and cruise port. The docks in George Town have been used for many years by Caymanian entrepreneurs to sell their crafts and items to tourists as they step off the cruise ships. However, Tourism Councillor Joey Hew said right now these areas are seeing an increase of “hagglers” as well as vendors operating without proper licensing. He added, “Some are licensed but not licensed to sell on public property and that’s where the anomaly comes in.”

Hew said the issue of vendors operating without licences and insurance has been a problem for some time.  He stressed that, as an island, we cannot allow unlicensed or unregulated entities to break down Cayman’s reputation as a “hassle free” tourism destination.

“We do not want the Cayman Islands to become like other destinations. We have a certain standard that we have to live up to that people expect from the Cayman Islands, and I will certainly not allow that standard to drop on our watch,” he said.

CNS Business

Joey Hew, Councillor, Ministry of District Administration, Tourism & Transport

Right now government is working to upgrade legislation and make amendments to the 1995 revision of the Towns and Communities Law in Cayman, which governs public areas and government-owned areas. Under the new law, Hew explained, government will be able to better regulate vendors on public properties.

“So once we’ve gone in and made the amendments, we can create an area for these vendors then make sure they have the necessary licensing, insurance, et cetera, and then enforce the law and deal with those who are simply there harassing the tourists or illegal vending on our public areas,” the tourism councillor told CNS Business.

Hew explained the government’s plan is not to disenfranchise vendors who mean well and are simply trying to make a living but to make it fair and safe for everyone and do it in a more organized and licensed manner. He added there is also a concern about public liability in some of these areas, as well as the safety of tourists.

Minister of Finance Wayne Panton elaborated on the issues during a Finance Committee session last week. He explained that regulators do go out and check for these unlicensed vendors, however it can be difficult, due to limited resources, to cover the problem areas at all times.

“As soon as you stop someone from doing some of these things, they shift locations and pop up somewhere else, so it is an ongoing problem,” Panton stated.

The minister said they do continue to advise the vendors to get properly licensed. “If they continue to reoffend, we will have to continue to try and prosecute,” he said.

Government officials said it will take a multi-agency approach to address this issue.

“The Department of Commerce and Investment have just gone through a comprehensive review and changes to their Trade and Business Licensing Law so they will now have the enforcement ability on those who are not licensed. But what we have to do first is be able to give those individuals an opportunity to get themselves licensed and insured and find a suitable place for them to operate,” Hew said. “Once we have our laws changed within the Towns and Communities Law, we will start to enforce it to the letter of the law.”

 

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Category: Featured, Local Business, Retail, Tourism, Video

Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I think their is something wrong with stuffing 15 people in a bus made for 10 But they do it all the time in (third world country name here)
    so it must be ok in cayman
    and while I am at it those folks in that bus cant speak a lick of English

  2. Rp says:

    Establish two police units. One who will ticket traffic offenses and one who will ticket unauthorized sellers.

    Fine traffic offences and collect them when driver license is renewed or car owner renews stickers. The salaries of the cops will be paid ASAP at a 200 dollar per offence. Same for unauthorized sellers, fine them 200 or charge them with TB license breach. Watch them cough up 200 immediately.

    These police positions pay for themselves and generate profits for cig. Set metrics for performance for these units.

    10 tickets per day per cop is 2000. Salary is paid in one month and 11 months of profit follows. End result: safer roads and beaches.

    Come on, let’s get it done. Currently only law abiding citizens pay fees, the ones who break laws get a break.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree that we need regulations. However there are several guys who are selling coconuts and other such items that are not likely to be in a position to pay licence fees. In those cases, government authorities should just do a brief check to see that they are observing basic hygiene standards etc and issue them a licence for gratis. It is better to do that than to remove their livelihood.

  4. Love thy neighbour says:

    5:51 why are you so afraid of the Jamaicans? Jamaicans are brilliant, innovative, successful, hard working, knowledgeable, YES, some are crooked and disgraceful. Nevertheless, the brilliant ones far outweigh the criminals. Why should they be deported when they work very hard? (Exchange for labour with a fair price). Let us all try to get along and leave the Jamaicans alone. BTW. Did you know that Joey is half Jamaican? Do you want to deport him as well and his lovely family, his dad who is a real icon is a Jamaican with Cayman Status. We all admire and love Mr. Lenny so much. All Joey is saying, ‘people, if you so choose to trade, get your affairs in order and pay your fees’. What is so wrong with that? Why should you, 5:51 writer attack the Jamaicans? Mr. Hew did not single out any nationals. We need to stop the hating. Thread cautiously, you never know when the time will come that we are going to need each other, in one way or form.

    • Anonymous says:

      The beach higglers I have come across are Jamaican. They are not American, French, Honduran or anything else.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Start with the new guy selling coconuts who has been in and out of jail for violence/robbery for over 15 years and wielding a machete in front of tourists. The cops know who he is…

  6. Bill Barnwell says:

    Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s like Groundhog Day. Every year they say they are going to “crack down”. Remember the public beach was a disgrace because of all the illegal operators there. They were going to address that. Been to the public beach lately, more than ever.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Not sure if it is still an issue, but I was at Public Beach a few months ago and couldn’t find a piece of beach that didn’t have a lounge chair on it that was for sale. Made the beach look cluttered and tired (as most of the lounge chairs were pretty banged up). Do these vendors have licenses and if so there are too many in existence.

  8. Cruise Controller says:

    The elephant in the harbour is the cruise industry. It is this walmartian approach to tourism that causes people to haggle for scraps. Want to see the future? Go take an eastern Caribbean cruise. Just awful. You can’t move for people harassing you to buy crap made in China or take a cab ride back to the boat. Wait that’s Cayman too……

  9. Allmy Beaches says:

    Go get um Joey. Start with the beach chair guys renting ghetto ass beach chairs and leaving them littering the beaches in the evenings.

    • Anonymous says:

      Send public works tonight with a truck and 4 guys and throw everything in the back and drive off. It is all lost property abandoned on the beach. Problem solved. Have an auction on Monday and sell anything of value. That will cover any costs. Done. Next problem?

    • Anonymous says:

      blah, blah, blah, this is pure political pandering. Just watch and see if anything will actually come out of this dog and pony show.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Umm… why not simply prosecute the existing breach of the Trade & Business Licensing Law?

  11. Anonymous says:

    They must be stopped at all costs God forbid one becomes successful and can rent a retail space and then they may be able to actually be competition to one of the founding families and the competition and success could lead to lower prices and employment for others This must be stopped
    Especially since on of the vendors could start selling restaurant supplies or perhaps offer cleaning services then what? this just cant happen.
    and while we are at it we must also stop those fruit vendors they may sell some spoiled coconut or perhaps a bad mango and then what the CIG could be liable for allowing it
    We better get rid of that fish market what if they sell some spoiled Hondo fish? Or our waters could have too many fish and that wouldn’t be good for the environment

    Lastly the govt needs all the welfare people it can get peoples jobs depend on people being dependent on government What would happen to those jobs at social services or the NWA

    Shut down those people today Failure depends upon it

    Lastly those dam jamaiciacans who do they think they are attempting to take our cayman money they should be deported

    • WaYaSay says:

      Anon 5:51, People like you make me sick!
      It is idiots like you, who thankfully, are a minority in my Country, that makes Legge think that he can tar me and my family, with your tar brush.

      Of your list of operators above, how many have you taken ANY action at all with?
      Have you inquired of them if they have a business license?
      Have you inquired of anyone if they have the legal right to operate in that location?
      Have you reported anyone to the authorities after interacting with them?
      Or:
      Are you one of the illegal operators, operating your business on the people’s property, without even bothering to ask permission or get a license?

      If you have interacted with any of these people, except just to buy something to fill your gut, and bothered to report it to the authorities; and the authorities have not acted, have you called the authority out on CNS?
      You obviously know how to write, and have the time to post damn rubbish!!

      If you see something…………………….say something!

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