Falmouth craft traders angry with PAJ
Craft vendors operating in the proximity of the Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier in Trelawny are hopping mad at the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), which is seeking to prevent them from selling craft items to cruise ship passengers.
Barbara Roye, one of the 31 vendors operating in the area, told The Gleaner that they have been operating for seven years with the understanding that they would be provided space in a market that was then under construction, but now that the market has been completed, it cannot accommodate all the vendors.
"We operated under tarpaulins because the promised arcade was not built. The complaint was that the tarpaulins were unsightly, and we were removed. This was to be temporary until a market was completed," recounted Roye. "Now that the market is completed, it has accommodation for only 24 craft traders. So we want to know which seven vendors are not going to be accommodated. Each day our efforts to get answers from Port Manager Mark Hylton have been unsuccessful. All he does is take us for idiots and keeps moving the goal post."
Linval Brown, another of the craft traders, told The Gleaner that in addition to the limited space inside the new arcade, there were other unsatisfactory situations.
"The place is wide open to the elements. When rain falls, all our material will be wet," Brown complained. "There is no running water, no sanitary convenience, and sewage water runs alongside the market. When we question Mr Hylton about the situation, he just shrugs his shoulders and tells us to use the public sanitary convenience, which is a good distance from the market."
When The Gleaner contacted Hylton via telephone, he said he could not speak to the matter without first getting permission from PAJ boss Professor Gordon Shirley. The Gleaner subsequently tried to reach Shirley via telephone but without success.
Victor Wright, the member of parliament for North Trelawny, to whom the vendors took their plight, told the traders that he had scheduled a meeting with the PAJ and he would be seeking to address their concerns at that meeting.
To be part of the new arrangement, the craft traders are now required to register their businesses as a company and provide police records.
"Traders who operate on the pier are not subjected to the same requirements," noted Gay Banbury, another of the disgruntled craft traders. "With all these unsatisfactory conditions, Mr Hylton told us we have to move in by March 16."