Samoa PM wants street vendors to move off side-walk
Samoa PM wants street vendors to move off side-walk.
The Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, has admitted he was wrong to support street vendors selling along the footpath in Apia, and now wants them to move elsewhere.
Though street vendors have been selling on the sidewalks in town for years, the Samoa Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is warning the law will be enforced to make them move.
Leilani Momoisea reports.
Last year, the police chased away vendors from their usual spots and confiscated most of their goods. At the time, the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said police officers should concentrate on other important duties, and not chase them away. But our correspondent, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says Tuilaepa has now admitted he was wrong, and street vendors must move.
AUTAGAVAIA TIPI AUTAGAVAIA: He said the walkways is for people walking, the road is for cars, and the markets is for people selling their goods. The government is speeding up all the preparations for the SIDS conference in September where all these vendors should be taken away from the walkway of the streets around Apia area.
He says however, while the side-walk stalls are an eye-sore, people find them convenient.
AUTAGAVAIA TIPI AUTAGAVAIA: You just walk on the street and have a look at the stuff selling in front of the shops and banks and all that. You have easy access, but that's the problem. When it's so crowded these vendors are making a lot of problems there. Obstructing people from the free-flow of people.
The chairman of the Farmer's Association, Afamasaga Toleafoa, says the majority of farmers sell their produce in the markets. But he says there has always been a part of Apia where there are a number of vendors on the street side.
AFAMASAGA TOLEAFOA: There have been moves in the past to clear them from the street for a number of reasons, for hygiene, for safety for security, but it's been done sort of half-heartedly really.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is responsible for looking after public lands. It's chief executive, Suluimalo Amataga Penaia, says vendors need a permit to operate on public land, and if they want to set up permanently, they need to move to the markets. Though the government owned Fugalei market is still being rebuilt, he says there are private markets with spaces left. But Suluimalo says street vendors simply aren't interested.
SULUIMALO AMATAGA PENAIA: They've been there for quite some time, so they don't want to move. That's just their explanation. And even we are saying that there is a permit system, you have to go to those spaces, set up your tents and sell your products, and they just don't bother. They just want, wherever they want their set up to be.
Suluimalo is warning that the rules will be applied to vendors who refuse to comply.
SULUIMALO AMATAGA PENAIA: They've So now we are just gonna say, I think we need to enforce it, maybe we can use the police to just clear these people out, otherwise it's not really a good reflection of the town area, especially people appearing for the hosting of the SIDS conference.
He says however, the Ministry would prefer to work out an understanding with the vendors, and letters have been given to sellers explaining the situation.
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