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HomeNewsArchivesNew Ordinance Aims to Reduce 'Barkers' in Charlotte Amalie

New Ordinance Aims to Reduce 'Barkers' in Charlotte Amalie

Oct. 10, 2006 — Responding to a number of complaints made by tourists, cruise ship lines and local merchants, the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs and the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce have developed a system, effective Nov. 1, to limit the number of "barkers" in downtown Charlotte Amalie.
According to Joe Aubain, the chamber's executive director, about 50 barkers (i.e., advertisers hawking at an entrance to a business) currently work in downtown St. Thomas. "In season there are about 75," he said when contacted Tuesday evening.
Aubain explained that the "sheer volume" of street barkers has spurred persistent complaints from tourists. "The bottom line for the chamber is that we [the Virgin Islands] maintain our competitive edge," he said. "Because of the number of complaints coming in to the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs about this issue, we think that it's something that needs to be addressed."
According to a press release sent by DLCA on Tuesday, the complaints have been "longstanding" and generally "concern harassment made by 'barkers' in the downtown area."
When contacted Tuesday evening, DLCA Commissioner Andrew Rutnik said the new system, which goes into effect Nov. 1, attempts to alleviate complaints by cutting the number of barkers down to seven and restricting the locations where they can operate.
"Over the past year, we've been working with the chamber to resolve this issue," he said. "We've developed an organized system, which restricts barking to seven different locations. Any business in the area can hire these individuals as contractors and pay them to promote their store."
Rutnik added that the chamber will be responsible for selecting, training and certifying the barkers.
"The chamber will also provide these individuals with uniforms, so they will be easily recognized on the street," Rutnik said. "And the DLCA will be responsible for making sure these individuals are licensed."
Rutnik said currently some "barkers" are licensed, while others are not. "Now they'll all be required to get solicitor and sales licenses," he said. "And they will be restricted to their areas — they can't just wander up and down the street."
According to Aubain, the barkers will be stationed at "major thoroughfares and alleys" in the downtown area, such as Palm Passage or Hibiscus Alley.
"Four informational kiosks will also be set up downtown," Rutnik said. "And those are strictly for distributing information, not for promoting any businesses."
A press release issued by DLCA on Tuesday states that all barkers not licensed and trained to work in downtown Charlotte Amalie will be "considered illegal and will be removed from the Historic District."
Businesses hiring illegal "barkers" will be subject to a $500 fine and could have their licenses revoked, the release said.
"We're really looking to clean up the problem," Rutnik said.
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Oct. 10, 2006 -- Responding to a number of complaints made by tourists, cruise ship lines and local merchants, the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs and the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce have developed a system, effective Nov. 1, to limit the number of "barkers" in downtown Charlotte Amalie.
According to Joe Aubain, the chamber's executive director, about 50 barkers (i.e., advertisers hawking at an entrance to a business) currently work in downtown St. Thomas. "In season there are about 75," he said when contacted Tuesday evening.
Aubain explained that the "sheer volume" of street barkers has spurred persistent complaints from tourists. "The bottom line for the chamber is that we [the Virgin Islands] maintain our competitive edge," he said. "Because of the number of complaints coming in to the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs about this issue, we think that it's something that needs to be addressed."
According to a press release sent by DLCA on Tuesday, the complaints have been "longstanding" and generally "concern harassment made by 'barkers' in the downtown area."
When contacted Tuesday evening, DLCA Commissioner Andrew Rutnik said the new system, which goes into effect Nov. 1, attempts to alleviate complaints by cutting the number of barkers down to seven and restricting the locations where they can operate.
"Over the past year, we've been working with the chamber to resolve this issue," he said. "We've developed an organized system, which restricts barking to seven different locations. Any business in the area can hire these individuals as contractors and pay them to promote their store."
Rutnik added that the chamber will be responsible for selecting, training and certifying the barkers.
"The chamber will also provide these individuals with uniforms, so they will be easily recognized on the street," Rutnik said. "And the DLCA will be responsible for making sure these individuals are licensed."
Rutnik said currently some "barkers" are licensed, while others are not. "Now they'll all be required to get solicitor and sales licenses," he said. "And they will be restricted to their areas -- they can't just wander up and down the street."
According to Aubain, the barkers will be stationed at "major thoroughfares and alleys" in the downtown area, such as Palm Passage or Hibiscus Alley.
"Four informational kiosks will also be set up downtown," Rutnik said. "And those are strictly for distributing information, not for promoting any businesses."
A press release issued by DLCA on Tuesday states that all barkers not licensed and trained to work in downtown Charlotte Amalie will be "considered illegal and will be removed from the Historic District."
Businesses hiring illegal "barkers" will be subject to a $500 fine and could have their licenses revoked, the release said.
"We're really looking to clean up the problem," Rutnik said.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.