Forde: Gov’t making vendors suffer

Government has left Barbados’ vendors to suffer.

And Shadow Minister of Small Business and Culture, Cynthia Forde thinks this is a shame because at least 95 per cent of these individuals are honest, hardworking and want to make a difference in the lives of their families and the entire island.

Forde voiced her concerns today while addressing vendors at the corner of Swan Street and Lucas Street in the wake of Operation Recapture Bridgetown, launched last week by the Royal Barbados Police Force.

The St. Thomas MP suggested vendors had been left to fend for themselves and were yet to get a hearing from government.

She said if government officials were asked for an urgent meeting with the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association a meeting would have been convened.

But with vendors in the City facing challenges for the past couple of months, Forde added, nobody was listening to their plight.

“I believe that any government minister or any member of parliament who is worth his/her salt, hearing and learning and witnessing the challenges that these people suffer could at least say, ‘let me have a meeting with Alister Alexander from the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs to hear what the real issues are’,” the Barbados Labour Party representative said.

“Sixteen thousand workers have gone home in the last five years and even today people have received letters saying that their employment has come to a close. What are they going to do to survive?

“Everybody does not want to join in any negative activity. Nobody wants to if they can avoid it. Nobody in this government has said, let me hear what these poor black people like myself have to say,” Forde argued.

She suggested that officials from the Ministry of Agriculture Markets Division and the police could have met with the vendors and issued temporary licences so they could sell legally.

BLP’s Cynthia Forde (right) speaking while BARVEN President Alister Alexander (centre) and other vendors listen.
BLP’s Cynthia Forde (right) speaking while BARVEN President Alister Alexander (centre) and other vendors listen.

“I think generally the vendors are law-abiding Barbadians who want to fend for themselves and not rely on any government or any institution for them to survive. I think that is honourable because Barbadians are proud people who always want to work honestly and independently to be able to develop. So as far as I know these vendors have absolutely no problem,” Forde stated.

The MP said situation hurt her to the core because her mother, her aunt and several persons she grew with were engaged in vending to supplement their income.

“Vendors are people too and must be given a chance to ply their trade honestly to help raise their families and to get a piece of this rock called Barbados. And so I am here to represent them as Shadow Minister of Small Business in the Barbados Labour Party,” she said. (NC)

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