Categorized | National News

West Bay Food Vendor Says His Business Is Legal

A businessman and food operator accused of running an illegal enterprise on West Bay Street says not only is he fully licenced to operate, 70 per cent of the area’s residents are his customers.

Ever since Haymish Moxey opened his Gone Fish’N Extreme Grill’N operation on Perpall Tract and West Bay Street he’s gotten a lot of business.

He’s also gotten a lot of bad press.

Several months ago Free National Movement (FNM) Senator Desmond Bannister raised concerns in the Senate about the activity going on at the site.

He lamented that area residents wanted the operation removed as it posed health concerns because it attracted rodents and vermin in the area.

He also raised concerns about the noise level and safety as individuals swarm the site until late in the night.

State Minister for National Security Keith Bell promised Mr. Bannister he would look into the matter.

But, according to Mr. Bannister so far nothing has been done.

“I am disappointed that we could have someone blatantly breaking the laws of The Bahamas on West Bay Street, a street that the prime minister and the deputy prime minister have to pass on their way home in the evenings and so many Bahamians are concerned about it. We have somebody who has broken electrical laws, who have electrical wires hanging from tree to tree, has signs on West Bay Street and the Government of The Bahamas cannot enforce the law in relation to that person and that is terribly disappointing,” he said.

But, Mr. Moxey says there’s a reason the government hasn’t taken action: it’s because he has permission to set up his food operation at the site.

“I basically have everything that is required by government to operate and maintain a vendor’s permit and an operation like this. I have permission from the Ministry of Works. I have my vendor’s permit from the police,” he said in the interview with The Bahama Journal yesterday, noting that he got his business licence in November 2012 and also has a health certificate.

Mr. Bannister told The Journal that some of the residents have created a petition to have Mr. Moxey removed from the area.

“They are knocking their heads against the wall; they can’t get any help whatsoever from the government; they are extremely frustrated. There is a petition by neighbours seeking to have the government take action in relation to that illegal activity,” he said.

Mr. Moxey acknowledged that there was indeed a petition being circulated.

“I learned about three or four weeks ago I had about maybe 40 or 50 residents come to me and said there was a young man walking around with a petition. Some of them brought it to me, they took it from him and they tore it up. Seventy per cent of the persons who live through there are my customers that come here on a regular basis, weekly sometimes twice a week,” he said.

“You’d find them here on the weekend having lunch or getting stuff for their kids, so it’s only a minute few and we have a few people in this country who feel because they are ‘Mr. so and so’ in their book that they think they could raise concerns and they should be heard. We should come together and raise concerns about the crime in this country, that’s what we should be focusing on.”

He continued, “There’s not one day that the police – who come here and get lunch and who I’m very close with because of my relationship with my crime watch – could come here and tell you that there is cursing going on here or anything of that sort or loud music that is annoying to anybody.”

Some residents believe Mr. Moxey’s operation should be stationed at Arawak Cay (The Fish Fry) with other local vendors.

He addressed the criticisms.

“People are always complaining. You can’t do anything. If I were a foreigner, I would have a nice deck out here, running water, lights and I would be able to do exactly what I needed to do to make this a wonder of The Bahamas. I have, on a regular basis, tourists every day of the week. The hotels are sending tourists here because the food is excellent; the place is clean, as you can see,” he said.

“[As for claims of] rodents, I don’t know what the people are talking about. You can never come out here one day and find garbage lying around or anything. As you can see, we have our stuff set up properly. Food handling is something we are concerned about. We are very cautious about the way we handle our meats. Everything comes on the grill fresh and doesn’t sit around. We enjoy what we do and we love doing this.”

“We have a wastewater treatment company that hasn’t been doing so well, we have families. My brother and I and the rest of the guys who work with us we have families and we have to make a living.”

Mr. Moxey noted that the previous government – the FNM – constantly spoke of entrepreneurship. He said the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) also says it believes in Bahamians, so he is simply doing his part to create his own job and provide employment for others.

The food vendor said he chose his current site because it was convenient. He lives five minutes away. He also noted it was a “nice location.”

“I tried a couple of spots on the strip and it didn’t work out. I spoke with the government and after a while of fighting they decided to give me an opportunity,” he said.

Mr. Moxey says he employs four employees.

But, the Gone Fish’N Extreme Grill’N operator says he doesn’t plan to be at the site for very long.

“Hopefully in the not too distant future we’re going to be moving from this spot. We’re looking for bigger and better things. Here it is a foreigner comes into this country at any time and they’re given an open door policy; they’re able to set up a business and here we have a very viable business and we’re not able to do on the spot, so we don’t truly care to be here that much longer,” he said.

“As soon as we [move] from here we could have running water, set up bathrooms and a full kitchen with electricity and truly expand this business to what it should be.”

Several locals and tourists were sitting at the site eating grilled food.

“Persons from Old Fort Bay to Ocean Club are here on a daily basis,” he said.

“Bahamians talk about no jobs, no this, no that, but here it is we’ve got a business where we’re creating jobs . . . besides myself there are four other persons working for me that are being paid on a weekly basis and are able to take care of their families and people are complaining that there are no jobs and here we are creating jobs and people are shouting ‘shut them down, shut them down’ and then what? Do they try to create another robber?

Mr. Moxey also noted that he lives in the Grove (West) and has been running the area’s crime watch for nearly three years.

“How can I break the law and work along with the government in trying to deter crime, how can I break the law? What type of hypocrite would I be? Do you think honestly from I’ve been operating here to now and the kind of business that I have here that the government and police would allow me to be here . . . if I were not licenced. You have to go through the police to be here,” he said.

Mr. Bannister said there is recourse for residents who are frustrated.

“There are things that individuals can do, but for them to get involved, other than going to Town Planning, which they have done, complaining to the police, as they have done, the only recourse now for them would be to take legal action in the courts and that ought not to be something that they have to do in this day and age if you have a responsive government,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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