The Cayman Islands government will soon begin prosecuting public vendors who set up shop without first obtaining a trade and business licence.
The date for the upcoming crack down is set for January 2013.
Department of Tourism officials said all public spaces are included in the licensing law but that the “primary concern” is on public beaches.
"DoT welcomes vendors offering visitors and residents a taste of our culture and heritage in public spaces. However, it should never occur to the extent where our visitors and residents begin to feel harassed,” said Director of Tourism Shomari Scott.
“We support the Department of Commerce and Investment and its Trade and Business Licensing Unit in their enforcement campaign to manage and regulate public vending on our beaches. We hope all business persons see this campaign not as a hindrance, but as an initiative to ensure the Cayman Islands maintains its place as a premier tourism destination.”
Section 163 of the Cayman Islands Penal Code addresses public vending. Any person found guilty of contravening this section is liable to a $1,000 fine for the first offence, and a $5,000 fine and imprisonment of up to six months for the second offence.
“If vendors are found without a valid trade and business license after 1 January, they will be immediately prosecuted by the RCIPS,” said the licensing unit’s head of business licensing and enforcement, Mr Ryan Rajkumarsingh. “As far as using the public cabanas on Seven Mile Beach for vending purposes, this is strictly prohibited. These are intended for leisurely use by beachgoers only.”
The licensing unit will consider granting licenses to individuals who have received Cabinet approval to use public property to carry on their trades, Mr Rajkumarsingh said. However, he noted that depending on the type of business, that individual must also meet requirements from various government departments such as planning, environment, for food handling, and DoT, for PRIDE customer service training.
“We…are offering a grace period of three months, to give persons time to get in compliance with the law,” he said. “But this grace period will definitely end on 31 December 2012. It is important for vendors to know that there are serious repercussions for not having a valid trade and business license.”