Heritage Quay vendors annoyed with move to new location

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Scores of angry vendors, who were moved on Monday from the Heritage Quay Vendors Mall to a new but temporary location, west of the Heritage hotel, lamented the situation when OBSERVER media visited the area once known as Commissioners Grill.
The vendors were furious about the untimely shift in location and they complained of being sickened by the pungent odour coming from the city’s sewage tanks.
Rosenelly George, a career vendor for over 20 years said, “I came yesterday to ply my trade, and I’ve been smelling feces for the whole day of yesterday and I’ve been complaining … they say it’s water … but you can see with the naked eye, it’s not water, it’s feces.”
George said she has been unable to eat or drink water without wanting to vomit since Monday. She said, “I’m sick and tired … I can’t stay here any longer … as you can see everything is in my vehicle there to go home, every single thing.”
Another vendor, Bridget Huggins, expressed her displeasure with the move and the conditions of the temporary location. “It’s like I’m in hell … First thing, we have the sewage … I can’t inhale all of this for two weeks or three weeks.” She said, ”where I was, I used to get a couple sales … now look where I am … I’m way in the back here … I’m not making any money.”
Further complaints were made about the untimely decision to move the vendors from the mall. “It’s at a wrong time, but they have explained themselves and they say it’s only for three weeks … the booths are in bad condition, so we welcome the new stuff … we can’t do nothing else,” another vendor said.
According to a statement from the St. John’s Development Cooperation (SJDC), for the next three weeks, maintenance work and renovations will be taking place at the mall.
SJDC said, “The current facility will be completely remodelled and the new booths will have LED lights and modern fixtures and fittings. The new booths will also provide more space to display goods with a more improved design.”
Meanwhile, commenting on the move and renovations, the Executive Director
of St. John’s Development Cooperation, Craig Whyte, said, “Basically for years, I think it’s well known that the vendors were not in the best of premises, in terms being able to operate and to be successful.”
He said, “We have to be responsible landlords, first of all, they’re renting from us … this is something that should have been done years now, but we are just now in a position to do it and have it executed.”
Whyte said that the organisation started planning for the renovations a year ago, but it all just came together in terms of the finances “and being able to come up with the concept, the product, the finish, that we think represents the vendors and represents the destination in a real way.”
In a recent meeting with Minister of Tourism, Charles “Max” Fernandez, the vendors were assured that the government will compensate them for any loss of revenue or business sales during this period of relocation.
The SJDC said compensation will come in the form of one month of rent-free operations for December.

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