Categorized | National News

Festival Place Vendors Insulted By Director’s Claims

Artisans of Festival Place are upset after recent statements made about their relocation which they deem untrue.

Last week, Janet Johnson, director of Festival Place, suggested that vendors were happy about the move from inside the facility to the outdoors on Prince George Wharf. She also stated that the vendors were seeing better sales as a result of the relocation.

However, the vendors on Friday claimed these assertions were false.

“We are struggling out here, we are actually struggling out here,” said Debra Darville, an artisan.

Vendors were told Tuesday that they would be put outside as a dry run to see how sales would do.

Since then, however, the vendors claim they are now finding out that they may actually not return inside.
The vendors now claim that they are making no money at all.

“We would make $800 on a Thursday when a pride and glory is in, I made $80 on Thursday,” said Ms. Darville. “Tuesday I made $45, Wednesday I made $20. My rent is $250 a month. I haven’t even made rent. I can’t even make $100.

“How can we survive if we can’t even pay our employees? I have a lady that is a single mother, has two daughters in college. How am I going to tell her after Monday not to come to work anymore?” said Eldena Cartwright, another artisan.

Vice President of the Festival Place Tenants Association, Wendy Kelly believes the vendors have been deceived.

“Originally, when we were told we were coming out on Tuesday, we were told it would only be out for a dry run and we would be back in the building on Wednesday and we had to be out by the 26th July.”

“Once we got out here Tuesday afternoon, we were told “ya’ll aren’t going back in the building and you can go and collect your stuff, but that’s it for you all”.”

The artisans also claim that the Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe also went back on his word and deceived them.

“The minister also promised us that before we came outside he would meet with us, and that everything he had promised, it would be fulfilled. We haven’t seen him or a representative yet,” Ms. Cartwright said. “That needs to be explained.

“They said they were going to put us in the courtyard by the ships – this is where we need to be. Management also told me that the tour buses would stop here, they haven’t done that yet. The minister himself has said he has failed us.”
Many of the artisans have stated that promises were made and have not been delivered as yet.

“How can you say we are happy, and lie, that’s an insult!” stated Ms. Cartwright.

Minister Wilchcombe allegedly promised the vendors contracts and has not met those promises.

President of the Festival Place Tenants Association, Yvette Prince has made a list of the issues which the association feels needs to be addressed.

Among the issues listed are relocation, proper ventilation, benches, rent free booths, bathroom facilities, placement of garbage bins and movement of the taxis.

“This is inhumane – the booths don’t have ventilation,” Ms. Prince said. “How can you expect a person to live off of $20 and $30 a week? This needs to be fixed, we can’t survive out here.”

Ms. Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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