One very constant element within the popular market districts whether in Downtown Kingston, May Pen or whichever Parish you choose to shop, between the hustle and bustle of bargain hunting shoppers are the ‘always on-the-go’ handcart operators.
Many have encountered them by way of an unexpected run over of one’s the toes. Their catchy phrases and utterances which notifies you of their arrival or availability, many times leaves shoppers bursting with laughter. Their service is to simply help shoppers with their heavy load, by taking them to catch their bus/taxi, for a small fee of course!
Fees ranging anywhere from $200 up, depending on the service required by shoppers, distance being travelled, and definitely the size of the load.
Our very reliable handlers in some parishes will once again have to register their handcarts if they want to legally operate in the market district. This exercise last conducted in 2013 and is expected to be reintroduced again as early as next month. Recently Municipal authorities made public, plans to iron out existing flaws and also to improve the aesthetics of the cities market districts.
The licensing of handcarts existed in the laws as early as the 1950’s so the practice is not a new one. They were mostly unenforced for decades though. Hopefully the new terms and conditions will be beneficial to all stakeholders.
What does this mean for shoppers and handcart operators?
For weekly market goers will some of the operational expense be passed to consumers? Will handcart operators be forced to withdraw their services if unable to find funding to license their carts.
These are two very important questions as the dialogue continues between the KAAMC and handcart operators who provide the much needed service to shoppers and vendors in the Jamaica market district. Jamaica Today will continue to monitor and keep you up to date.