Stuart: Conditions at the mall will damage cruise tourism

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Conditions in the city and recent events surrounding vendors and St. John’s Development Corporation (SJDC), can damage Antigua’s Tourism.
That’s according to former executive director of SJDC, Anthony Stuart, who is also an executive member of the new political party, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA).
He said, “Heritage Quay is our front door from the sea to Antigua and Barbuda … Those visitor,s while I was there …  I saw them holding their noses … and we say, this will always be the first impression that Antigua and Barbuda would have left on these persons coming to our shores during this three-week period.” 
Recently the SJDC decided to move over 90 vendors from the Heritage Quay Vendors Mall to another temporary location to facilitate repairs at the mall.
The work is expected to last three weeks but the vendors are displeased with the conditions such as sewage leaking from a broken septic in the area, the stench it creates and the dust from the foundation at the new location formerly known as Commissioner Grill which burned down in recent years.
The vendors are also unhappy that this is being done now, when the cruise tourist season has started, which is when they make money.
Stuart said, “This relocation albeit for three weeks, will do tremendous damage to the cruise tourism product.”
The former executive director said, “The new Minister of Tourism, Honourable Charles “Max” Fernandez, and the management of SJDC acted in a most insensitive and uncaring manner, when they displaced vendors, without any plan, without any thought … and they placed them in an area that is unhealthy, unkempt, unclean, unsanitary.”
Stuart also made reference to the setup of the temporary vendors mall calling it, “a dirty shanty town … a shanty town styled mall.”
He stated, “While the funding is taking some time, you ensure that you make the necessary preparations in place so that if you have to move, that the move is seamless, is clean, so that you would not have the situation here today.”
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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