There were cries of unfair competition at the Cheapside Market today, as several vendors complained about the unregulated actions of their colleagues, who have stalls in the market, but have chosen to operate illegally outside the City vending facility.
When Barbados TODAY visited Cheapside today, the market itself resembled a ghost town, but several vendors were seen doing a brisk trade along the pavement, which is directly outside the over 400-stall market.
Angela Greene of Upper Carlton St James who has been selling there for the past 25 years, complained that while Government has provided hundreds of stalls for the vendors, only “four to six [of us] actually use them on a daily basis.
“Vendors use the stalls to store their goods at night and we have been complaining about the situation for sometime but nothing has changed.
“Some days I only make $10 and I have bills to pay,” said Greene, who is up to date on her monthly rental fee of $8 for her stall.
However, she complained that some hawkers, who had been issued with licences to sell their produce opposite St Mary’s Church, were currently occupying positions directly in front of the Cheapside Market.
Seventy-two year old Marlene Moore of Free Hill, St Michael, who has been selling in the market for the past 30 years, was also concerned about the amount of illegal vending taking place outside the market, adding that those vendors were also selling at a lower price.
“Vendors who do not sell within the market and use the stalls as storage space should be asked to give them up,” she told Barbados TODAY.
Equally concerned about the situation was Janice Carter of Haynesville, St James, who has operating at Cheapside Market for over 15 years.
“We sell very little inside of the market. Customers buy from the vendors who are in front of the market and move on to catch the route taxis and minibuses in the Cheapside bus stand,” Carter said.
Also operating within the confines of the market today was Kenroy Harewood, who told Barbados TODAY he has been selling farm produce at Cheapside for the past five years, but with the upsurge in illegal vending, he seldom made any money.
Offering a solution to the problem, Harewood said: “Put up fencing in front of the market to solve the problem. It is time that the people in the market who pay their monthly rental fee to the Government get their rights.”
Today, senior officials of the Cheapside Market could not be reached for a comment on the situation.