Booths built some three years ago for the purpose of vending in the Babonneau community are now being removed by the Babonneau District Council. The first booth was removed early this morning.
The decision to remove the booths was made despite a petition bearing 530 signatures which was presented to the council and the district representative Alvina Reynolds on Wednesday by the United Workers Party (UWP) branch, calling for the council not to remove the booths.
Public Relations Officer for the UWP constituency branch in Babonneau, Lionel Ellis, told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that the decision to remove the booths is blatant disrespect to the people of Babonneau.
Ellis said that the Chairperson for the Babonneau District Council Virginia Albert Poyotte claims that the four booths were erected without permission and is restricting a free flow of traffic.
Poyotte told the media recently that a meeting was held with at least 50 community members where a majority decision was made to have the booths removed. However, the UWP representative said members of the community have disproved the comments and the UWP was able to produce documents detailing the construction and approval of these booths.
“We also can clearly say that the issue of a 40-foot container not being able to turn the junction is not a problem. I have contacted people who maneuver that area and they have no problem,” Ellis told SNO.
Poyotte guaranteed that the booths will be replaced with something of a higher standard. The booths were due to be opened at the last election and for almost three years it has been kept closed.
“Babonneau is a young and bright community that these booths can serve as a pilot project especially for the unemployed and the small business entrepreneur. To remove the booths at this time, when the country is crying out that there is no money, is a sad case,” Ellis explained.
The UWP representative said Reynolds, who is also in receipt of the petition, have not made any effort to meet with members of her constituency to discuss the issue and find a solution to the problem.
Ellis said: “Reynolds must understand that she is not representing the people who voted for her, but all of Babonneau. If 530-plus persons signed a petition, multiply that by a family and you will see how many people all over is not in support of that, as against 50 who the council claim met with.”
The UWP spokesman told SNO that it is unfair that the people who had intentions of opening up and starting up a small business were deprived of the opportunity of doing so.
The other three booths are also expected to be removed in coming weeks.