Vendors in the Castries Craft Market are divided on the imposition of increased vending fees.
The Castries Constituencies Council (CCC) announced Thursday that the vendors will be required to pay fifteen percent Value Added Tax (VAT) for rental of their booths.
The President of the Vendors’ Association, Peter ‘Ras Ipa’ Isaac had told the Times that a petition protesting the new fee will be sent to the Minister of Local Government.
But some vendors believe it’s much ado about nothing.
“I don’t find it is too much,” said Fidelia Paul who has been selling in the Vendors Arcade for twenty-one years.
She asserted that she has been paying the same rate for all that time.
“If we have to pay it I will pay it,” Paul told the Times.
Another vendor, Judy Simon, said the increase was not burdensome.
“If you want convenience – you want the place to be better, we want to be attractive to the tourists, we have to pay for it – everything comes with a price so I don’t think eighteen dollars is unfair to any vendor,” Judy Simon asserted.
Her only concern was that the CCC should have summoned a meeting to inform everyone of the new measure beforehand so it would not have come as a surprise.
Josephine Cadette told the Times that although in the inception it was difficult for her to pay, she was proud that the CCC had given her a counter in the arcade.
She disclosed that she was happy about the increase.
“For twenty-one years we are in the arcade and we have made progress for the twenty-one years – I had a lil house, I renovate and now I have a big house now because of the arcade,” Cadette disclosed.
She observed that before the fee used to be thirty dollars.
“I make so much progress on that thirty dollars I don’t see why we can’t pay the eighteen dollars for the VAT. It is unfair. I don’t see why we can’t pay one hundred and thirty eight dollars monthly,” she declared.
The vendors spoke as the President of the Association held a meeting in the arcade to discuss the new fees.
Cadette felt that the majority of vendors did not want to pay the increase because they are following the Association President.
“We don’t have to follow Mr.Isaac because we have a mind of out own,” she asserted.