~Readying petition for government and Parliament ~
The vendors on the parking lot at Kim Sha Beach, classified as the Kim Sha Market Place, are incensed with the government over its latest move to put them out of business. The vendors reacted over the weekend to a Ministerial decision dated August 17, 2020, by Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Ludmila DeWeever that would set the max opening time of business for the vendors to 10 pm daily and re-classify the area as a “re-designated marketplace.” This decision was made public by the Minister over this past weekend.
This decision reverses the previous one made by former Minister Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher that established the area as a market place with operating hours from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm Monday to Thursday and 8:00 am to 1:00 am on Friday and Saturday. The vendors contended that this is a “sneaky” way to retract a classification so that they become individual vendors that fall under the vendor's ordinance which does not allow vendors to open past 10 pm.
Furthermore, they stressed that the government has no respect for local businesses and entrepreneurs by releasing this new decision on the weekend without dialogue with vendors. What the government did, they pointed out, was to use the COVID-19 measure of bars closing at 10:00 pm as cover for this decision. “They wanted to pull a fast one on the public so there was no backlash. But once the 10:00 pm measure for all bars is lifted, we will be stuck with the new 10:00 pm decision, thereby taking food out of our family mouths. This will never happen,” they stressed.
The vendors have begun gathering signatures for a petition and will submit a letter to the Minister, Prime Minister, and the petition committee of Parliament. “This is a total disregard for the struggles and well-being of your people. Imagine the gall and coldness of a government in a pandemic making things harder for their people, small business people struggling, there are no words to describe how nasty this is,” the vendors said.
They are of the opinion that Minister DeWeever is protecting “other” nightlife spots in Simpson Bay because they are not as popular as the market place with its local flair and ambiance. “It seems clear to us that there is more behind this decision. There must be. Because out of everything this government has to focus on, changing our operating hours without the decency of a conversation, suddenly becomes a priority? It’s unacceptable and we are not having it,” they said.