JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education is developing a regulatory policy that deals with illegal vending on, or around school compounds.
  • “We have illegal vending taking place…. vendors who are selling without a food handlers permit, and in a recent study, we found vendors who were operating, in most cases, outside of the school gate…
  • “We are now trying to educate the vendors and persons who have to deal with them to understand the importance (of it) and to get the schools to buy into it. It is not going to happen overnight and schools may be even averse to it...

The Ministry of Education is developing a regulatory policy that deals with illegal vending on, or around school compounds.

Speaking with JIS News, Director of Safety and Security in Schools, Sergeant Coleridge Minto, informed that currently vendors are operating illegally without the required permits.

“We have illegal vending taking place…. vendors who are selling without a food handlers permit, and in a recent study, we found vendors who were operating, in most cases, outside of the school gate… there are no bathroom facilities; and so when they want to use it they go behind a tree and they come back and they are selling food to children,” Sergeant Minto said.

He noted that the Ministry views illegal vending as a security and health hazard to children, and as a result is currently working with parish councils, the police, and other stakeholders, to develop the policy.

He further stated that this policy, when completed, will be presented to the principals and administrators of schools, for action.

“It is still in (early) stages…in terms of consultation and getting the feedback from the vendors themselves, too. We are speaking to them,” he informed. He noted that one institution had, in its bid to regulate and control vending on its premises, built an area for vendors inside the school, and restrict what can be sold to students, and the time-frames in which this is allowed.

“That is the type of organisation that we want to bring to the illegal vendors to regularize them and bring them on board,” Sergeant Minto stated. The Director further explained that the proposal being proposed is to have vendors getting police clearance, having the required food handlers’ permit, and wearing some form of identification.

“We have seen cases where vendors are selling things that are not healthy and we have had allegations of vendors hiding weapons for students. Those are some of the things we are looking at,” he stated.

He further said that, currently, focus is being placed on public education instead of enforcement.

“We are now trying to educate the vendors and persons who have to deal with them to understand the importance (of it) and to get the schools to buy into it. It is not going to happen overnight and schools may be even averse to it. But the overall objective is to ensure that the school environment and the students teaching and learning environment, remain safe,” Sergeant Minto stated.