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Feb 1, 2011

Vendors near Fort Street Tourism Village are losing money

While protesters camped out at the prime minister’s office, in Belize City there was another angry group. The Fort Street Tourism Village instituted a zoning policy late December. From the get go, there was uproar by vendors who suffered a deep cut in the cash they took home to feed their families. The vendors, including hair braiders, taxi drivers or handicraft sellers were moved from the streets to inside the Craft Market and that new location they claim, kept them far from the visitors and unable to sell their goods and services. Today they told News Five that they continue to lose money and can’t take it anymore.  They say they want to go back to their original location on the street beginning this Wednesday.

Enrique Ramos, Slate Carver, Craft Market, Tourism Zone

“We used to deh right cross ah di streetsideweh the City Council mi build fi we nicely and now deh put we in yah so, weh we noh di mek no money.  Everybody have the same problem.  Fi today I only mek one small sale fi today. The location is really bad because all the tourists di pass right round and round the Tourist Village pan dah side deh.”

enrique ramos

Marion Ali

“They’re not coming in?”

Enrique Ramos

“They’re not coming inside this side.  We’d really want move from yah soh and mek dehn put we back dah fi we spot weh we mi deh, on the street sidewalk weh dehn mi build fi we.”

Marion Ali

“You sell a rice and beans just now I see.”

Christine Baeza, Food Vendor, Craft Market, Tourism Zone

Christine Baeza

“Yes, wah three dollar plate.  Usually we sell six dollars food.  Right now we have to di sell whatever we could sell because we noh di mek no money in yah.  We used to deh pan di sidewalk and we used to sell maybe thirty, forty pounds of rice and beans fi the day.  Now, dah like ten, five pounds we di sell fi the day.  You could tekwah look eena my pot.  I usually bring ten chicken fi the day.  I bring four chicken and look deh, barely anything.”

Marion Ali

“Is it the number of tourists, is that contributing to the problem as well?”

Christine Baeza

“Well we sell to the locals.  We noh really sell to tourists.”

Marion Ali

“That’s you and your rice and beans?”

Christine Baeza

“Yes, but now because we deh in yah, the locals deh pass yoh right  by and dehn noh come in.”

Roland Young, Wood Carver, Craft Market, Tourism Zone

Roland Young

“This zoning thing noh di work because dehn noh di promote or di market fi we product pan this location here the way they promised us.  The tourists dehn noh di come in yah.   We prefer outside.  We want to be in the centre of the action where we can make money to take home.  We decide to go out there tomorrow and stand up in front of this parking lot and demonstrate.  We’ll not come in this parking lot tomorrow in the morning.”

Marion Ali

“How many of you have decided this?”

Roland Young

“We have thirty eight to forty vendors in this parking lot and all of us have decided to do that.”

Timmy Stamp, Wood Carver, Craft Market, Tourism zone

Timmy Stamp

“We tek wah licking in yah, we tek wah licking fi one month and change now.  So after this now if dehn noh do nothing fi we, we gwein back pan di street starting from tomorrow.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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5 Responses for “Vendors near Fort Street Tourism Village are losing money”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    With fewer ships coming in, there are fewer customers. Do not picket when the tourists are there unless you have signs promoting your goods.

    Just keep in mind that all of you have to stand together. They moved you guys across the street, they are trying to move the local tenders out & after that is done, the shops will be the next to come under their complete control if that has not already happened. $3.00 for a plate of rice & beans is reasonable, $6.00 is reasonable. Their goal is to break your will & have you cooking for them, selling your carvings direct to their middleman who will tell you what to carve, how much he will pay you & have all the shop selling the same things, the hair braiders will be in a nice clean shop where the big boss takes at least 50% because if it weren’t for him, you’d have no business because his buses will pick up his people before they get to where you are now & you will all be grateful. The end result will be the same, deal with the hunger right now so that you all can retain control of your lives. chances are they will hire very few of you if any.

  2. Earl Grey says:

    They should have GIVEN UP $2.00 ON THE WATER TO MAKE $20.00 ON LAND.

  3. John Boy,Carson,Ca says:

    The sidewalk is for the movement of pedestrians , and not for vendors.I wonder if any of these people have business license ,or food handlers certificate to serve food.It seems to me that these people are law breakers.

  4. John Boy,Carson,Ca says:

    Roland Young it is not goverment job to market , or promote your product.

  5. Fed Up says:

    Forget tourism all together. It will fizzle out one day with all the crime and corruption going on.

    Wake up vendors, tourism dollars are reserved for a few elite to benefit from. Can’t you see the whole tender business was just another way to control the incoming dollars to only go to a few connected people. If you are not on the inside of the walls you will soon become disposed of.

    Camp out all you want on the ministers lawn, he is not interested.. Who was the prime minister kidding with acting like he had an interest in the whole tourism deal. His sights are on the bigger dollar, oil! Look into the oil companies and see who their attorney is people. He will not be backing down on letting the oil industry be given to family and established business associates.

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