A GOOD number of betelnut and cooked food vendors continue to ply their trade with impunity at the Central Market in complete contravention to Honiara City Council’s COVID-19 Market Ordinance.
This concern was raised by a local farmer from Malaita.
“I was here at the market for the past two weeks selling my market produces and I have noticed some vendors and some council officers are not complying with the market ordinance,” said Andrew Noa.
Noa told the Solomon Star yesterday that he also noticed that even members of the Honiara Central Market Association are partaking in defying council ordinances.
Noa said that he wants the City Clerk to explain which section of the Ordinance allows the selling of betel nut and cooked food so that other interested vendors can also access the same privileges.
“We all face the same challenges in terms of income due to the COVID-19 threat and the HCC should make it fair for all vendors,” he said.
He said that betel nuts are sold openly at the main market and vendors are slowly increasing by the day.
“If it is against the new market Ordinance then I don’t see why the HCC Law Enforcement team does not arrest these vendors?” Noa questioned.
“We saw them confronting these vendors but they did not arrest them like they always do with mobile street vendors who are selling kitchen and other household wares,” he said.
Noa said that with regards to cooked food vendors, the Clerk should make it clear if the Ordinance has been amended so that others could also do the same to feed their families.
Noa went on to say that the City Council should put a complete ban on the sale of betel nut at the main market for cleanliness and for everyone’s health’s sake.
The City Council must be seen to enforce its ordinances and regulations and through rigorous enforcement of the law, lawbreakers and would-be breakers are deterred from engaging in such illegal activities.
He also questioned the installation and use of the CCTV Cameras at the market.
“I heard that CCTV camera was installed for the purpose of security and identification of illegal vendors like those selling drugs, alcohol and in this case, betel nuts and cigarettes – sadly, the cameras have served no purpose to date,” he said.
He then called on the Clerk and Market Master to quickly address the matter.
By IAN M.KAUKUI