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Police concerned for safety of roadside vendors

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 14/01/2020

There is increasing concern for the safety of roadside vendors as the location of their stalls exposes them to possible harm in the event of an automobile accident on the road, due to their very close proximity to the road. Their location is ideal for easy access for buyers but it is not always the safest.

Head of the Tonga Police Traffic Safety Unit – Inspector Lemoto Piliu says roadside vendors are vulnerable to be affected in a road accident as their stalls are right by the road and are not exactly strong enough to protect the vendors sitting by or behind the stand.

Piliu says many vendors choose to sell their produce by the road side in front of their own private property and this is legal, but Piliu says police are working on ensuring these vendors are not taking up space on the sidewalks and blocking the path for pedestrians.

Radio Tonga News reporters went out to Nuku’alofa last week and spoke to some of the vendors on the roadside where Holaifaa Palanite of Houma and Lesieli Taulango of ‘Utulau admitted that they do feel unsafe in their stands by the roadside and with recent road accidents they have witnessed just how much at risk they are by the road.

On the other hand Temaleti Tongotea of Mataika and Sepeti Tameilau of Vaini says, they feel safe despite the risks they understand they face by the roadside but they are encouraged to continue on in their location as it is the best and easiest way to attract buyers.

At the moment, Inspector Piliu says police are looking to enforce the laws regarding roadside vendors to ensure their safety.

© Radio and Television Tonga News