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Salvatori vendors to find a new home

...Udecott to begin construction 2015
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Vendors on the site of Salvatori Building, Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. The merchants have been given until December 31 to occupy the site. Photo: Danielle Salloum

The proposed move to relocate vendors from the Salvatori building site on Independence Square, Port-of-Spain, to New City Mall, Charlotte Street, by the turn of the new year, has been met with uncertainty from a number of tenants. In September the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) which owns the site said all vendors must relocate on January 1, 2015.

Udecott chairman Jearlean John told the T&T Guardian the vendors have been given at least four extensions but ultimately vendors would need another location to ply their trade by January 1. Port-of-Spain mayor Raymond Tim Kee, in an address during a weekly statutory meeting at City Hall, Port-of-Spain, last week said at least 20 vendors would be moved from the spot just after Christmas to New City Mall.

However, that option came to the surprise of New City Mall’s manager Diane Hendrickson, who in an interview said there was little space for new tenants. She said there was space for about four people on the Independence Square side of the Government-subsidised property but nowhere near the figure of 20 vendors quoted by the mayor. Hendrickson also said she was unaware of any such arrangement and heard about it once on a radio programme.

Vendors at the Salvatori site said they had heard nothing of New City Mall being an option for relocation. One proprietor, Nisha Small, who has occupied her current spot for two years, said she understood Udecott’s demand to vacate the premises.  “I have no issues (with being relocated). If it was my property and I was ready for it, I would ask others to relocate as well... My only problem is, where are they going to put us? No one spoke to us.” 

She said only councillor for St Ann’s East, Janelle Young, has made an attempt to assist her (Small) in relocating. Small said she would go anywhere to “do her hustle”, and although no one spoke to her about New City Mall being used as an option, she would be happy for a booth as it is affordable. Small said she believed a lot more than three booths were available for vendors at New City Mall. 

“A lot of people closed up shop recently because they weren’t paying rent, so, there is enough space for most of the vendors here.” The latest extension to allow vendors space at the site by Udecott was for three months and will expire on December 31. The site has to be cleared to allow assessments and surveys to be done before construction begins on the energy tower project.


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