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Mar 16, 2011

Canal side vendors must relocate to market

Last Friday night, Miguel Rivera, a fruit vendor, was killed as he sat in the vicinity of the Michael Finnegan Market. The homicide spurred security concerns among fruit and vegetable vendors, which was one of the issues discussed today in a meeting at the market. The council is planning to move the vendors from the canal side to inside the market, which creates an additional problem since the new market is already short of space. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The vendors from West Collet Canal were invited to a meeting today with the City Council representatives to discuss planned changes at the market. It was announced that all vendors from the canal side would have to move into the Michael Finnegan Market.

Philip Willoughby, City Councilor Responsible for Market

Philip Willoughby

“People who sell retail clothes, fruits, vegetables, whatever; they will now be relocated in here. They will be provided with a stall or a booth to operate from. The wholesalers will now operate from West Collet Canal to Dolphin Street on specified days at specified times.  It will alleviate a number of issues; the free flow of traffic, people traversing on the sidewalk, kids coming and going to school and all the other traffic that happens out here. You won’t have that bottleneck of motorists stopping and purchasing from their vehicles.”

The vendors in attendance were onboard with the move, but raised numerous concerns including trading hours, price and security.

Oscar Pollard Sr.

Oscar Pollard Sr., Market Vendor

“Even though we do wholesaling, we need to do retailing as well to get rid of the stuff that we have. If we do not have an adequate space that we can do both, then that will jeopardize our sales. Looking at wholesalers will only be able to sell from five a.m. to ten a.m., it’s a short time and what does one do with the remaining stuff that he or she has after ten?”

Robert Lightburn, Market Vendor

“I am very skeptical about the price. Right now they are charging us five dollars to sell, I am saying if they charge us ten dollars, if they double it—but they are talking about building this and building that and I know the price is going to go up. Poor people cannot afford that.”

Oscar Pollard Sr.

“I’ve seen where people have been mugged, vehicles broken into, chain snatching and people actually being shot—recently the guy we call Miguelito was shot—but we need to have security, proper security in this area because having special constables, none of them are armed, none of them are capable of taking care of any event in the event there is a robbery or anything around here. We need to have more police presence.”

The biggest concern is that there isn’t enough space for all the vendors, particularly on Saturdays. City Councilor Philip Willoughby, who recently took over the portfolio of markets, says it’s an issue that will be worked out over time.

Philip Willoughby

“I can’t say specifically because from time to time the numbers increase but we have looked at all who operate from the canal side from Sunday to Sunday and I’ve stated that every available space inside the market will be made available for those vendors who operate outside the market.”

Robert Lightburn

Robert Lightburn

“What I was saying is just to mark a little area. I would want to see everybody come in here because my main thing is people want to go where people are. So noh tell me bout build wah next market somewhere else and divide di people.  I wanna know I could come every week and I am at number six, I could find number six stall. If I am number twenty I could find it and nobody wah give me wah hard time to go there. This is what we need. We need something weh wah work fi all of us.”

Elnelda Scott, Market Vendor

“When we come out here Saturday fi sell, we have to get up from afta twelve dah morning; come out yah three o’clock, four, five o’clock and no space deh fi sell. And di same thing wah happen in here. Dehn di talk about making space and shelter but we noh need dat, we need space to sell. We build wi tables, we have it out yah but di people dehn noh want use di table, dehn want have their own thing. We can’t work like that.”

But in the meantime, the vendors say they’re willing to cooperate with the council while it works out the kinks.

Elnelda Scott

Elnelda Scott

“We are willing to work with the council, we noh have no problem working with him as long as he hear our complain and work along with us.”

Oscar Pollard Sr.

“The plan can work but one of the things that I note is that the council always tends to be dragging its feet on areas that need to be implemented immediately.”

Robert Lightburn

“Rather than having us outside there, they could have brought us in here a long time ago. I want to see it work so I will cooperate with them.”

The move is expected to be completed by the first week of April. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The price will be determined when the cost of constructing the new stalls is known and another meeting with the vendors is scheduled for next Wednesday.

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7 Responses for “Canal side vendors must relocate to market”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    Vendors, expect the first few days to be chaotic & stop !@#$%^&* about the $5.00 a day, I believe that cost is too low. If you want security, that costs money too, everyone is afraid, including your customers. Life is hard but it will be harder on your children & the people who depend on you if they do not have you around because all of you were too cheap to spend the extra couple dollars for a full time security guard or police. I have been critical of the City Council at times when they needed it but I am pleased to see them finally showing concern for the common folk & treating the vendors with respect. Thanks Willoughby.

    BTW Ruby3, I would like to see you build your portfolio so that you can move up, I promise to only spank you when you need it, it builds character.

  2. BT says:

    So it took Citco, what, about 2 months to transform the new “clean and comfortable” market back into the old cramped, congested, chaotic mess. Maybe Philouby should visit San Ignacio on a Saturday and see how it is actually possible to have a public market that provides an enjoyable experience for vendors and shoppers. But not in Belize City, where we seem to love our disorder, garbage, and overcrowding too much…. meanwhile I’ll continue pay a bit more to buy at my neighbourhood vegetable vendor so I don’t have to step over bags of rotting produce, and duck under and endless maze of tarps and ropes. If I want that experience, I know how to get to Melchor.

  3. Elgin Martinez says:

    Why not arm these Vendors?It’s such a shame that our people got to be living in fear as a result of the crime situation.Apparently the criminals are in control.

  4. CEO says:

    I think the City Council should make better plans on how to manage these vendors. They have been moved tooo many times.

  5. Disgusted! says:

    I really wish these media outlets would stop doing coverage and giving live interviews to anything that Phillip Willoughby is involved in already. This guy is all about photo ops and media fanfare, and yet they never seem to come up with plausible solutions to the myriads of problems on city councils plate. Every other newscast is the same $h!t over and over again with some unresolved issue involving these incompetents I guarantee you this is another prolem brewing and will be featured in the news again before the end of March. “Where there is no vision the poeple perish”

  6. Disgusted! says:

    Add, by the way, the “S” on his cap stands for [SIMPLETON]!!!

  7. Sugar says:

    there we go again spending more money in a swamp that people want to keep calling ‘city’. any money spent in this swamp is throwing good money to waste….everytime u hear GOB spending for southside, poverty alleviation…etc…etc…..use that money to develop the rest of the country as BELIZE is from north to south and not just that swamp with people killing each other. ..U cyant straighten bent stick..

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