When hawkers try to impose their own rules…

Good morning.

I found it a bit unfair that authorities have literally thrown hawkers out of the 500 meters radius of the Port Louis Central Market and even more than that. Only a couple of days after this ‘clean up’ operation in the streets of Port Louis, it became a pain to find my preferred cakes or any other snacks to nibble during the day. However, streets were surprisingly easier and pleasing to use, without the need to zig zag in between hawkers’ tables on the pavement and even on the streets.

Police were accused of using force and being brutal in an illegal gathering of hawkers. Few of these hawkers were even arrested and on the next day, private radios did broadcast the painful cries of those dads and mothers who had no other choice than to sell illegally to feed their children. On one day, they even stayed in the cold till late in front of the municipality of Port Louis.

Really, I felt pity for them. After all,  they are only trying to earn a living without robbing or killing people around. And the government should definitely help them by providing the necessary infrastructure and any legal framework for them to do business.

Their demands

That was much before I realized that the hawkers were becoming too demanding.

The authorities proposed a few alternate places for these hawkers to operate but the Street Venders Association rejected all of them. They absolutely want to operate in the city center. Period. A few days ago, the Street Venders Association even threatened to go on the streets and at a point of time, I even heard a few shouting that they will block streets and the motorway!

Something that you might not know is that not all of the hawkers are ‘poor’. Some of them have huge mansions, drive big cars and above all, they do not pay tax, unlike you and me! Nor any fee for permits, unlike shop owners or those central market merchants who have previously gone to court to gain justice, leaving no choice to authorities other than track down every hawker doing business illegally in the region. A totally understandable action on behalf of those who are paying all their dues to the authorities.

Few of the hawkers are still operating today, playing hide and seek with the frequent police patrols with the risk of getting fined and their items seized. I was so sorry earlier but because of their demands and threats, things have changed (even if we should not put all of them in the same basket).

Go and get yourselves f*!

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  • JP Fortuno

    not all of the hawkers are ‘poor’.

    er.. yes.. that has been my major complaint for the last 15 years, though they strongly claim they are, and I heard their whining on radio, and of course using the education of their kids, their devotion and family as a shield; I was like ‘wtf’

    to which extent do their existence reflect on the economy (or votes at elections), I don’t know.

    As a teen, I had considered the possibility of leaving school and becoming a hawker to become rich. No tax, low cost of investment, no health hygiene measures to take (if you sell food), rumored to be ‘protected’ by government for a long time (for ‘obscure’ reasons – I don’t know the reasons), easy money

    Ok, ok, it’s part of the folklore – small markets (bazar, la foire) exists in all parts of the world – we did benefit from it somehow, I can see the win-win here consumers/hawkers. But what is the global picture in the long run? How legit it is? I’d be curious to hear your answers…

  • It’s all about the money… everyone needs more and more moneyyy!!! =P

  • Aki

    Reminds us that some “poor” hawkers are protected by politicians..i.e. the case of the “marchand briani” and a lady politician..

  • crypto

    It should not be forgotten that since they have almost no accounts to give to authorities, its a good way to launder money… so there may be shady organizations pulling the strings behind the scenes

    And as written, they are not prepared to compromise, so they are of bad faith. If they so much want to work in those central places, rent and pay your dues!

  • angelmandini

    At some point in time, a ‘Hawker’s Palace’ was constructed for them, they refused to use that place.

  • Al-shaad

    they impose their own rules? these hawkers know their day to day business than others! It’s normal that they’ll choose a place where their business brings much more so as they can make a profit! for instance, those who were at Rue Desforges were re-lodged on the bridge, but we all can see that the number of those hawkers has diminished consequently because peeps won’t go to them! they go to people to propose their products!
    A hawker is a person who travels around selling goods, typically advertising them by shouting. they shout in crowded place, not lonely places where there are hardly any potential buyers!
    Having made a few proposal does in no way means the hawkers would be better off or even work as they did near the central market!

    btw only a FEW hawkers are rich, not everyone! Sample testing doesn’t work in all cases!

  • uuuy

    Respecter la loi. Un point c tou. Pa a coz ki bisin nouri fami ki bisin fr zafer illegal. Si kumsa ale kokin et dir ke c pour nouri fami.

    Servi lesprit. Condamne zot si zot persister.

  • Exactly what I said :
    “[…] that not all of the hawkers are ‘poor’”
    “Some of them […]”

    I dont think that the aim of the government is to make them work as profitably(?) as in the strategic locations in the capital. La moindre des choses = give them somewhere to work but hawkers are going too far now…

  • Yeah! We all know about that 😛

  • I share the same view as yours. It is a win-win situation for people working or passing in Port Louis. Hawkers offer better deals probably because they do not offer any warranty nor they need to pay for their location. (And sometimes cheap things turn to be even more expensive).

  • Yusuf

    Je suis de ceux qui croient en l’aspect fonctionnel des lois. Une loi n’est pas là pour rien. Sans les lois, notre société ne pourra pas opérer correctement. Il n’y aura pas d’ordre et sans une conduite basée sur les bonnes valeurs humaines l’homme se réduit à la médiocrité.

    Il serait approprié de s’épancher sur le raisonnement derrière l’article 45(1) de la constitution de notre nation. Là, on voit ceci; <>

    Les lois sont là pour le bien de cette nation. Ces gens ne respectent rien et on voit le résultat. Désordre dans nos rues, manque d’hygiène et excès de zèle entre autres. Les médias mettent beaucoup d’emphase sur le marché central mais je tiens à inviter tous les curieux à venir faire un constat au Paille-en-queue court à Port Louis ( C’est le bâtiment où siège Air Mauritius).

    Ces gens se sont installés sans aucune permission. Ils viennent dans des véhicules qu’ils ne sont pas censés posséder pour placer leurs marchandises. Ils ont installé des étals comme on peut voir dans les grands marchés. C’est repoussant mais il me semble que les autorités ne se sentent pas du tout concernés par la beauté perdue de notre capitale. Ces marchands ne sont pas courtois et ils causent des problèmes aux automobilistes; Surtout à ceux qui doivent se rendre chez le supermarché Winners. Il y a à peine quelques semaines, un imbécile a garé son van derrière l’aire de stationnement d’un gros camion de livraison dudit supermarché. Quand les gens lui disaient de rendre un service et de faire le tour du quartier ou de se garer à un autre endroit pour aider le camionneur on dirait que les mots allaient vers l’oreil d’un sourd. Le camionneur a dû suite à l’embouteillage qui s’est produit à cause d’un crétin qui n’était pas coopératif.

    Il faut plus de discipline et j’encourage la police Mauricienne à faire son travail sans qu’il y ait l’intervention de quelque force externe qui pourrait empêcher l’application des lois de notre territoire.

  • These “hawkers. Their demands are unfair.

    Unfair towards tax-payers.

    Unfair towards legal shop owners.

    Disrespectful towards the authorities who set-up and have the duty to enforce the regulations.

    Disrespectful towards the SUPREME COURT.

    What about the legal shop-owners and vegetable sellers’ view?
    What’s that pseudo-argument: “trying to earn a living without robbing or killing people around”???
    You too, Sir Awootar! We too, we work without killing people, and we pay our dues and on time siouplé!
    What about safety of tax-paying, law-abiding citizens? You pay taxes for precisely upholding these bloody regulations and laws, Sir.

    Do and say as you wish, the demands of these
    these illegal hawkers (no,
    NOT hawkers: illegal pavement-obstructing, stationary
    sellers) are, at the very least, egoistical, in the same vein as the “transporr-maléré”: I can only do this because my family depends on my only income and I find only this to do, even if it means spitting on the other peoples’ right to safety on streets; the rules have to be bent for me, me, me, me. Always whining for their own selfish agenda.

    Silly egocentric, egotistical children: grow up!

    If I have to earn a living, I try to find something legal to do. Not spitting on the Supreme Court’s order to abide by a simple law.

    It is in fact our condoning and toleration of these batt-batté attitude (of course, encouraged by very short-sighted politicians) that keeps this country from making real progress. If I had to encourage those tier-mondiste attitude, I’d prefer that we abolish ALL laws and destroy all signs of modern life (roads, buildings and clothes and what-not) and go back to caverns. Then, everyone would be on his own to fend off for his life, real, hardcore style in a similar way that these hawkers and transporr-maléré are trying to bring us to.

    One last thing, “Al Shaad”: “Something that you might not know is that not all of the hawkers are
    ‘poor’. Some of them have huge mansions, drive big cars and above all,
    they do not pay tax,” From experience and from a conversation with a very good tax-adviser: yes, they all pay taxes, but only as individuals, not as businesses, i.e., there is loads of VAT evasion on these articles that find a way through the customs. And most of them can easliy afford (very expensive) tax-advisers for paying the least possible. And remember, ALL of these supposedly ‘poor’ hawkers have at least one goods vehicle that they run and operate and renew well before has come the time to renew yours… The minority noisy ones (with a huge backpack, hands loades, yelling while walking) are actually the ‘jockeys’, the ones at the far end of the chain, eking out a living or for a quick fix.

    Case closed.

    Next!

  • How it all began:
    http://www.lematinal.com/blogs/editorial/18465-Editorial-nigme-ambulante.html

    See, the more we make childish phone calls (not necesarily to Nita or Abu) for political help instead of acting responsibly, the more we become entangled in a bigger and bigger mess…

  • korn1

    If they don’t want to compromise then I can’t really feel sorry for them.

  • Madz

    While I have always been a person who has preferred P.Louis to Ebene, just because there are more shops and food around, I must say that Hawkers should not be tolerated.

    They are everywhere, they block your way, they make it harder for the traffic to flow properly and they are filthy! (Has anyone tried to walk through Victoria Bus Station early in the morning or in the afternoon when everyone is leaving for home??).

    I do not understand why the government has been letting them do business like this. Hawkers make shops suffer. Not only can’t shops display their items properly(because hawkers are blocking all the good view), but they also lose customers just because some hawker might be selling the same thing outside (and they have no tax or rent to pay). Ppl also don’t want to walk into shops because the streets are filled with hawkers. Ppl are only interested to get out of this bad crowd as soon as possible.

  • Right or wrong, the place is not the same anymore. I feel a bit alienated lol.

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