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Feb 2, 2011

Planned tourism demonstration fizzles; vendors want old location

The planned demonstration by handicraft vendors outside the craft market in the tourism zone did not proceed today because a meeting between their union President and the Belize Tourism Board on Tuesday evening looks promising. Last December when the F.S.T.V. was zoned, they were relocated by the Belize Tourism Board inside the market, formerly the Mirab parking lot, but they say that business has nosedived because it is not in the way of tourists. While they have agreed to hold off a while longer, if business doesn’t pick up by the end of this week the vendors say they will return to their original location on the sidewalk. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.

Marion Ali, Reporting

The vendors at the Craft Market in the Tourism Zone did not take their frustration of low economic opportunity to the street as they had threatened they would. Despite the fact that business has generally come to a screeching halt for many of them, today they told News Five that since their President, Gilroy Audinett, is discussing the matter with the Belize Tourism Board, they are willing to give the process a few more days.

Timmy Stamp

Timmy Stamp, Craft Vendor, Tourism Zone

“I deh with my crowd. Whatever the crowd seh I deh with. I deh with the crowd, whatever dehn down with I down with.”

Marion Ali

“The crowd change dehn mind.”

Timmy Stamp

“Well, my mind can’t change.  I have to still di think the same way because nothing di happen eena this yard.”

Roland Young, Craft Vendor, Tourism Zone

Roland Young

“They in negotiation right now, everything tek time and we have options.  And if ihnoh di work in a couple of days or if not over the weekend then we wah take the other route.  We have no choice.”

While the vendors feel that something needs to happen and happen quickly, Audinett say it’s going to take time.

Gilroy Audinett, President, Craft Vendors Association, Tourism Zone

“We discussed with the B.T.B. that we were going to give them about a month to try it out and then get back to them and if it is working or not working, and the tendering situation just made it worse for the yard cause it was already a complex situation and now with the ships cancelling and so forth it is compounding the problem.  So until they solve that situation I think then they can get back to really see if they can really market the place.”

Audinett says that in his meeting with B.T.B.  representatives on Tuesday, they agreed to consider some adjustments to help the vendors.

Gilroy Audinett

Gilroy Audinett

“The adjustment will be maybe relocating some of the vendors somewhere else in the area..”

Marion Ali

“Back on the sidewalks? That’s what they want.”

Gilroy Audinett

“They are saying that the sidewalk is not an option.  They are saying that they’re trying to make the place look a little more presentable to the tourists.  Some vendors are upset that they not making money here and they want to go back on the street corner, but there are other vendors that say they want to try out the yard and continue.  But I think some accommodation can be made for those people that are not happy to see if they can put them in a better position.”

We were in time to capture one vendor who was already looking to find a better place to sell his products.  Enrique Ramos told us on Tuesday that he too would demonstrate on the street in front of the market today.  But his plans were met by intimidation from a police officer, so he went about his business in a different way by taking his stall to a nearby private property.

Enrique Ramos, Slate vendor, Craft Market, Tourism Zone

enrique ramos

“The police done come and tell me if yoh try demonstrate or anything, we wah lock unu down and ih serious.  Ih seh ah wah lock unu up and ih serious.  That dah weh ih tell wi.  Soh I just decide I wah come dah wah safe area weh part dehn can’t mess with me.”

Marion Ali

“How did you work this out?”

Enrique Ramos

“Well I just beg permission fi mek ah could stay out yah soh from Jade Museum.”

Marion Ali

“This will be until when?”

Enrique Ramos

“Well, fi the meantime because – till afterwards when everything start to work out.  We have to move somewhere to make money, we have to try survive.”

Timmy Stamp

“And then people wah tell you bout you can’t talk pan the air or dehnwahwah lock yoh down.  That dah craziness mammy.”

With only two more days left in this week and the number of ships that will dock in Belize still uncertain, the chances of any improvement on the near horizon are dismal—so the likelihood of some form of upheaval within the troubled zone remains real.  Marion Ali for News Five.

News Five has contacted the Belize Tourism Board, but it hasn’t offered any comments.

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 “Planned tourism demonstration fizzles; vendors want old location”

  1. Lindsay Howard says:

    What’s wrong with sidewalk vendors. You find sidewalk vendors all over the world in AUTHENTIC locations, e.g., NOT locations made up for cruise ship passengers. Heck, we even have sidewalk vendors in Placencia, and people enjoy them and looking at their wares. Did anyone ask the cruise ship passengers if seeing vendors on the sidewalk bothers them? Personally, I think vendors on the sidewalks gives Belize City an air of hustle and bustle and excitement. Leave them on the sidewalks, they were an asset there. Does EVERYTHING here have to be eventually sterilized to serve this artificially created tourist market called cruise ship tourism?

  2. fromafar says:

    A friend of mine was talking to some firneds of his, who had recently been to Belize on a cruise, and compared the “Tourist Village” to a flea market, a frined of mine here at work told me after a recent visit to Belize that after seeing Belise City through the fence at the “Tourist Village”, that he’s kinda scared of me!!!!, other friends of mine who have been to Belize had voice thier dissatisfaction with the atmosphere outside the port. Did you know that there are people outside the fence there offering underage sex to tourists?

    Does anyone care? For this thing to work, there has to be something call standards, some wont like it because they cannot provide it.

    I dont kow what the point of being able to comment on this site, because apparently nobody has a vision for Belize. Unfortunately, to make tourism successful in Belize, we need to weed out the vendors that have no taste, there has to be quality control in the sence of appreances and such, not the shanty town looking flea market that it is today.

    Do what’s is sustainable and memorable to tourists, and they will come back. I would bet anything that most of the tourists, if we dare to ask, would not come back to Belize City. Belize City is a disgrace and tourists should not be allowed to visit there.

    I watched an old movie the other day, just for !@#$% and giggles, Dogs of War, some of you might remember it. I was struck at how similar Belize City still looks. Disgraceful.

    Then we have idiots like Superman trying to run a City!!!! Kind of funny if u ask me.

  3. John Boy,Carson,Ca says:

    I find a lot wrong with sidewalk vendors.If they are selling food do they have hot running water.Do they have food handler certificate from Ministry of Health.Are they paying for the space on the sidewalk,are they paying tax like all other legitimate buisness.Why should some people operate outside the law.We need to clean up Belize city.The place is filthy.Some people get immuned to filthThese artificially created tourist brings real money to the country.

  4. Nayo 4 D Bay says:

    Belizean da wimps. Send them to Egypt for training.

  5. Belize Gial says:

    to from afar:

    You talked to a friend of a friend who looked through the fence??? Why don’t you see for yourself before making judgements?

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