Handcart operators say no to licence

March 14, 2019
Jonah Wilson, a licensed handcart operator in downtown Kingston, pushes his colourfully decorated cart along West Street.

Handcart operators in downtown Kingston want the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) to do get rid of the handcart licensing policy.

The operators said that the council had failed in its attempt to bring order to handcart operators in the commercial district and that any plans to continue this practice is nonsensical.

“A foolishness dem something deh, cause a tax dem a tax poor people weh a try fi duh something. And from dem dweet di one time, a first wi a hear something bout it again,” shared Troy, who said he’s been operating his handcart since 2013.

He said the terms of the licence were not fulfilled by the council.

“Wi not even did duh no workshop, we just have wi money and see to it that we have wi money and pay bout $3,000 to $3,500, and then we wait fi get wi plate and dem ting deh,” he said.

Another operator who sells produce from his cart, told THE STAR that a better idea would be if the council assigned cart operators to a designated area and charge them a fee.


“I don’t think it (licensing) is a good idea, unless yuh woulda know seh we sell, like Orange Street and wi a pay fi which part wi sell, dat wudda be a better idea fi wi, but mi nuh feel like is a good idea bout licence cause a di same result,” he said.

In addition, he said even though he got his licence, he was still being harassed by the police.

“I thought the police won’t trouble yuh again with the cart and tek weh yuh food, but dem still do it. So I don’t see the point of registering and licensing my cart,” he said.

Meanwhile, Smithy, who makes and rents handcarts, said that if the KSAMC decides to resume the licensing, then they should include some benefits for the operators.

“I don’t know if dem have no benefits suh that when yuh license yuh cart, and if a man mash up yuh cart, or thief yuh cart, you can get a likkle help fi buy back board or some wheel,” he said.

Winston Ennis, deputy mayor of Kingston, said that the council is currently reviewing the policy.

“We’re gonna be reviewing the situation, and then make a decision. This decision could be to start registering them again, or dismantle it,” he said.

To regularise the activities and bring order to the handcart operators in downtown Kingston, the KSAMC implemented a licensing system in 2013. Approximately 400 handcarts were registered.

Other News Stories