January 16, 2009
Vendors at Central Market cry out

Officials at the Kingstown Central Market (KCM) are hoping to maintain a positive relationship with vendors at the facility, despite several incidents that have, over the years, created friction between the two groups.{{more}}

The most recent incident took place last Thursday evening, January 8, when tables, benches, carts and some merchandise were removed from inside the market and placed in the outer compound.

The vendors’ property was placed outside just after 6 p.m., when most of them had already left for the day.

Cries of “injustice”, “murder” and “advantage” went up by persons at the scene who denounced the act.

Early the following morning, as vendors searched through the displaced items, the cries continued, in condemnation of the act of the Kingstown Town Board (KTB) and the market officials.

“All ah dis is wickedness. You can’t treat people so,” shouted one irate vendor who did not wish to be identified.

Other merchants at the scene echoed the sentiments of the female vendor, claiming that they were not being treated properly by Market and KTB officials.

“They putting us out and still telling us to stay in the market.”

The vendors claimed that they were not notified of any intention by the officials to remove items from the market.

This claim, along with others, was refuted by manager of the KCM Johnny Jones.

Jones said that information had been sent out to vendors through flyers and market officers that restricted items will be removed from the compound and from certain areas of the market.

“Firstly, carts are not allowed in the market. They destroy the tiles in the market, and these people (the vendors) know that they are not allowed inside.”

Jones also indicated that efforts to upgrade the premises prompted the removal of some items, which were deemed unfit for the market.

He said that some tables brought into the market took up excessive space, and brought roaches and rats inside.

He also indicated that efforts to give the market a general clean up called for the removal of some items.

“If you look at the conditions, it is not proper. If we are going to attract buyers, we have to have the market looking proper. “

“People use the market as a storage and this must stop. We must have a sense of control.”

According to Jones, close to one thousand vendors are registered at the market, selling items ranging from dry goods to meals, clothing and cosmetics, vegetables, snacks and music, since the doors opened in 2000.

He indicated that over the years there have been issues and concerns raised by both groups, with most of the issues being resolved amicably.

Jones called on the vendors to work along with market officials, in an effort to give their place of business an enhanced look.

“We have a good relationship with the vendors, but sometimes we have to take the bull by the horns.”

“We will work very well with them, but they have to comply with regulations.”

At press time, a meeting was being planned between the market officials and the vendors.