Higglers in downtown Kingston experiencing bumper Christmas shopping
President of the Jamaica Vendors, Higglers and Markets Association Dunstan Whittingham is pointing to a bumper Christmas for those he represents, saying that approximately 70 per cent of the money in circulation this year will be spent in downtown Kingston.
"It is very encouraging so far. We are seeing the crowds, and from what we observe and calculated up to this point, it is expected that this will be a bumper Christmas for our vendors," Whittingham noted.
Fresh out of an organisational meeting at the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, where he engaged Mayor Delroy Williams in mapping out the commercial district for a more organised shopping experience, Whittingham said that he believed that this could be a massive weekend.
"Christmas is usually the brightest time for these vendors. I can tell you that this year is going to be big in terms of the money being spent," he said.
One bubbly vendor, who goes by the name Nadine, said she was feeling the Christmas spirit as she had been making brisk sales of her clothing items from early in the morning.
"Trust me, it a gwaan good. Money a mek, and that is the important thing," she said.
Quizzed as to the comparison between last year's sales and this year's, she said that there was no comparison as it was even better in some respects in 2016.
"It was better last year in some ways, enuh, but I feel that things a go turn out better at the end because we still have tomorrow (today) and after dat, too," Nadine explained.
Vendors and shoppers apart, it was refreshing to witness the police taking care of traffic in a section of the city that is renowned for indisciplined motorists.
Corporal Glenville Sommer-ville and his team were kept busy at the Orange and Beckford streets intersection organising the steady but slow flow of bumper-to-bumper traffic, allowing for pedestrians and shoppers to filter through at timely intervals.
He told The Gleaner that things had been put in place to mitigate congestion, while safeguarding both vehicle operators and pedestrians.
"It is hard work, but it is part of our role to make sure that at this time, and in such densely populated shopping areas, people are safe and protected from those who wish to do evil deeds."