Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Falmouth Craft Vendors Plead For Help

Published:Saturday | March 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMKarrie Williams
Vendor Sonia Thompson cleans a shoe on her stall while fellow vendor Delroy Perez looks on in a car park now operating as a market on Lower Harbour Street in Falmouth, Trelawny.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Craft vendors operating in the town of Falmouth, Trelawny, are expressing much unhappiness with the Trelawny Parish Council and other state agencies, who they say have abandoned them after making numerous promises to help them.

Chief among the broken promises that have sparked the ire of the vendors is the non-construction of a craft market on lands identified along Market Street, which was earmarked to be their permanent base of operations.

In fact, instead of the promised location, it was subsequently decided that they were to be placed inside a sugar warehouse, which was to be refurbished and retrofitted to facilitate them.

In addition, the vendors said they were told that they would all be benefiting from a rotation system at the Falmouth cruise pier, which would allow for all craft vendors in Trelawny to have an equal opportunity to vend there. That was another of the broken promises that has left then irritated as it largely excluded them from the financial benefits currently being realised by their counterparts who operate at the pier.

"Before the first ship came to Trelawny, I went to a lot of meetings and I felt pleased with what I was hearing ... . They said we were going to get a craft market and also that we would have a rotation system ongoing ... . It has been over three years now and there is no rotation," said craft vendor Kenneth Guthrie, while speaking at a recent meeting of the Falmouth Art and Craft Association.

"We don't have anyone to stand with us; we don't even have the mayor, so I want to know what is going on. As far as I can see, they don't want the tourists to leave the pier and do business in the town," added Guthrie.

untenable and unsuitable

The vendors are denouncing their current location as being both untenable and unsuitable for business, saying that it is only separated from the town's public sanitary conveniences by a wall.

"They placed us next to the toilet with a promise that we were only going to be housed there temporarily until they develop the lands that have been designated for us, or until they refurbish the old sugar warehouse; but we have now been left there for four years, and around there is no good for us as traders," lamented Hyacinthia Wright. "We are next to the public conveniences and that is not a place to do business. That is where we empty waste from our bodies, and the smell is atrocious. We cannot take it anymore."

In an interview with Western Focus on the issues, Richard Bourke, president of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce, corroborated much of the vendors' complaints, while also pointing out that other business operators in Falmouth were unhappy.

"The craft vendors in Trelawny were promised a craft market prior to the construction of the pier. The whole development of Falmouth also spoke to developing a craft market within walking distance of the pier, which would have encouraged the visitors to utilise the town and, hence, spread the dollars in the town," said Bourke. "... these have never materialized, so the craft vendors have due cause to be disgruntled as, basically, the whole craft vending in Falmouth has been to a large degree not organised."

"It is not only the craft vendors who are disgruntled, but also the business people who had ceded to allow the pedestrianization of the town square. All these people were supposed to be coming into the town square, but at the end of the day, there is very limited visitor presence within the whole pedestrianised area," stated Bourke