Marsaxlokk hawkers concerned about market closing time – consultative vote to be taken on Saturday
The association of market hawkers said that the Mayor of Marsaxlokk had conveyed the wrong impression when he said that the majority of hawkers agreed that the Sunday market should finish at 3pm.
The Association’s President Raymond Tabone said that the majority of hawkers had agreed to dismantle their wares at 3pm if the van is next to their stall, which at the moment it is not. The issue is currently of great concern to the Marsaxlokk hawkers who on Saturday are being urged to express their opinion in a consultative vote called by the Council over the new cut-off time being proposed.
On Sunday the market at Marsaxlokk is always packed with people most of whom do not agree with the council that the market should close at 3pm. instead of 6pm. The council has called for a vote because it says the promenade should be free from 3pm onwards for members of the public to enjoy.
Mr Tabone said that the survey which was mentioned by Mayor Horace Gauci was held in 2015 and is no longer relevant because the circumstances have changed since then. The issue of the opening times of the market was related to whether the hawkers could have their vans parked next to them on the promenade.
”The Government decided that on Sunday the vans cannot be parked there. So automatically that survey is null because it would not be fair. So the choice was to remove the van from there but then the opening times would be from 6am – 6pm.”
The members of the association explained that for the market to close at 3pm they would need to start dismantling their stalls about three hours before because their vans are parked elsewhere. They said that by reducing their time limit by three hours they would be losing a lot of business.
The Sunday market at Marsaxlokk includes around 170 hawkers and is the only village market which closes at 6pm. The issue over the market arose during a time when public consultation is taking place on the White Paper to reform open-air markets. The Director General of the Commerce Department, Godwin Warr said that various meetings are taking place with those involved as part of the consultation which has been extended to the end of this month.