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Minister Addresses Vendors’ Concerns

Both Potter’s Cay Dock and Arawak Cay have fallen into a state of disrepair over the years, but now the government is seeking to correct those issues, which is why Agriculture Minister V. Alfred Gray and several other government officials spent hours yesterday getting a firsthand look at the conditions at both sites and listening to vendors’ concerns.

Arawak Cay recently underwent drastic changes after the shipping container port was relocated behind the popular “Fish Fry.”

Still, problems exist.

For example, Eddie Domis of Brother Eddie’s Kitchen said Arawak Cay has a drainage problem that needs to be addressed.

“When it starts to rain, we don’t have a proper drainage system,” he said. The next issue is when we have a shortage of water. So we need to look into a backup system. Staff and tourists all need to use the restroom. And then there is the grass. Sometimes the landscape is poorly managed.”

While many of the restaurants at Arawak Cay were closed during the minister’s tour, vendors at Potter’s Cay Dock were ready to take on the day.

Many of them did not shy away from telling media about the issues at the location, which also houses the Produce Exchange and Fishers’ Market.

All of the vendors expressed serious concerns about vagrancy in the area.

George Dean said many homeless people have become a nuisance around Potter’s Cay.

“The guys sleep on the stalls and when you come in the morning they use the bathroom in the stalls and that doesn’t look good for business. So what the government needs to do is clean up the mess around here and get rid of some of these guys because it gives me extra work to clean up before I open up,” he said.

Jeremiah Rolle said the government needs to work harder to make Potter’s Cay a tourist attraction.

“We have so many stalls that are not working and you have plenty people that sleep on those stalls. If people hire them to carry shells to the dump, they instead dump it all over the place. If you go in the back where they want us to dump the shells, it looks nasty. The government is supposed to have people to take care of that for us. If they help us on one end, we could help them on another end,” he said.

Dorothy Lewis-Rolle, who has been a fruit and vegetable vendor at Potter’s Cay for over 30 years, said she has watched the area deteriorate over the years.

“We need the stalls to be upgraded and how the road has a lot of holes…. we need that to be upgraded. And then you would see the homeless sleeping on the stalls and anything that they eat they throw it around.

While speaking with reporters Minister Gray said that for the most part he was pleased with what he saw at Arawak Cay, but said that the government is going to work to improve the area even further.

“Arawak Cay seems to be in pretty good shape. The buildings are clean from the outside at least. But the grounds need some attention and I have given the staff leader the direction to tell him that we need to fix the yard. It is overgrown in certain areas and we can do better than that,” he said.

“In the next few days, we are certainly going to ensure that the grass is cut and we may need to change the kind of grass that is there. I am also concerned about thieves breaking into certain areas at Arawak Cay. Security will be another concern for me, particularly when the general places are closed for business.”

Potter’s Cay dock seems to have the majority of the issues, according to the minister.

But he said that the government, vendors and the public can do something to eradicate those issues.

“I am very unhappy with the condition of the stalls on Potter’s Cay,” he said. “I’m told that most of them are inoperable. People are moving away from the stalls and basically putting their things on the ground and I’m not sure the reason for that but the stalls themselves need repair. But the government cannot keep repairing the stalls if vendors keep breaking them up.”

“I am asking vendors to work with us. If they can assist us with keeping the place clean that will go a long way to remove the conditions that presently exists. I think the public would be able to help us if they would just take their garbage with them. The vendors have a place where we have sign for the conch shells and the garbage. But some of them are so short-sighted that they would rather throw it overboard because it is more convenient for them to do that. But how much more dumping could you have next to your stall with it rising from a sea and becomes another problem.”

Minister Gray said he hopes to meet with the vendors soon to discuss several other issues at Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay Dock.

He also invited the general public to make suggestions to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries on how to make the locations more attractive.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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