HANDCART operators conveying goods in the market district of downtown Kingston must begin registering with the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) before Christmas and pay an annual fee of $3,000, Kingston Mayor Angella Brown Burke said yesterday.
The mayor, who disclosed that one operator had already registered, said that the KSAC wanted implementation of the registration system to start before the Christmas season began to avoid chaos.
She told the council that after many consultations, the KSAC management had recommended that handcart operators, who transport goods for shoppers and from market trucks to vendors' stalls, pay the same registration fees as vendors operating inside the markets.
"There are no additional monthly/weekly fees to be paid," she said.
However, she warned that handcarts operating as markets on wheels are illegal and would not be licensed. This had been communicated to the police, she said.
The mayor told the September council meeting that handcart vendors who operated as mobile units outside designated vending areas and in competition with registered vendors presented the greatest challenge.
Yesterday she said that the handcart operators who register would receive a registration document and identification cards with their pictures.
It has been estimated that there are between 500 to 800 handcart operators, but all the handcarts are not necessarily used everyday.
"Some of the operators rent the handcarts short term or long term as required," Brown Burke said.
She said that the practice of licensing handcarts in Jamaica was not new.
"Other parishes have been licensing them," she said, noting that the St Catherine and Clarendon parish councils had already started licensing handcarts.