Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Member of Parliament for the City Jeffrey Bostic is vowing to defend the interests of vendors of fried fish who ply their trade at the corner of Baxter’s Road and Westbury Road.
The retired Barbados Defence Force lieutenant-colonel made this clear while addressing a BLP public meeting on Saturday night where he revealed that the vendors were ordered by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Markets Division to take down their structures because they were operating outside of the designated area.
Bostic also complained that Government was neglecting Baxter’s Road, while favouring Oistins.
“Oistins could be flooded with tents . . . that you can’t even past,” Bostic told the audience. “Baxter’s Road that is struggling, [with] people struggling to make ends meet, and you’re now telling me that things are picking up barely slightly that you are presenting another obstacle.”
While the Opposition MP said he was told of the removal order on the same day that the meeting was being held, the Markets Division letter to the vendors was dated March 10, and the removal ultimatum expired last Thursday, March 17.
“On the handing over of the stalls of the Baxter’s Road Fish Fry, the tenants were supposed to operate within their stalls. Over time, some tenants have set up tents and tables to the front and western side of the stalls,” Acting Manager of Markets Israel Kirton said in the letter.
Kirton claimed that due to limited space in the area, erection of the tents had led to disputes among vendors. He said that for this reason, vendors were being ordered to pull down their tents, and return to their designated stalls.
Atherley, who co-chaired the meeting, called for his party to restore Baxter’s Road to its past glory. “I want for this party to put its money – when it comes to office – where its mouth is on markets and develop this area once again.”
Noting the central role which Baxter’s Road once played in the island’s night life and entertainment, Atherley said: “Baxter’s Road . . . has contributed to making Bridgetown what it has become, and has helped to give it that recognition of a [World] Heritage Site.
“We cannot as a Government talk about historic Bridgetown and its Garrison and proceed to function as though Baxter’s Road is some second class citizen, or some second cousin to Oistins.”
The former Cabinet minister credited his party with developing the Oistins Bay Garden as a thriving community enterprise attracting people from all over the world.
“We want to see that happen at Baxter’s Road and I call upon this party, when it is soon returned to government, to commit itself to further developing this Baxter’s Road area,” Atherley said. (GA)