Two vendors who ply their trade at the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School have protested the Board of Management’s decision to erect a double perimeter fence, claiming it separates them from less-well-off students.
Grace Lovell, who told Barbados TODAY she has been selling snacks and beverages to the student body for eight years, claimed that the students who do not have the means to buy from the school canteen turn to her for their lunch.
She said: “Some children come to school with $10 to pay bus fare and still buy something to eat.
“So, the canteen provides a service for the children, but they are too expensive.
“They are only looking at one side of the story, probably about getting rent or whatever the case may be, but every time we come to sell at lunch they put up a double fence, as you can see.
“The children complain and they go to the headmaster and complain about the prices.
“So, when we come they do not want us out here at lunchtime, but you still have to look at the children.”
Lovell said that she sometimes provides free meals to students who do not have the means.
She said: “I gave a child breakfast and lunch for a whole term which is three months.
“Sometimes they come to me for bus fare, they want something they are short of money.
“So, you have to look at the average child, a poor child because every parent [does] not have money to give a child to pay for that lunch which is $15 or $11. You can get a doughnut for $2 and a drink for $1.50.”
The vendor said she discussed the matter with the board chairman. Despite having to ply her trade outside the compound, she boasted of being an insider at the school of 1,000 students.
“I had spoken to the chairman. He stopped here last year in September and told me he heard about Grace because I donate to the school when they have graduation although I am outside. I do anything and I am not on the inside, I am outside.
“I spoke to him and I explained the same situation to him about the students not having enough money to buy lunch. I told him if he put up the double fence if she could [speak] to him because [he had] to look at all the vendors and the canteen and see what the canteen selling and what the other vendors selling and then we could work with something like that. He did not say anything.
“I spoke to him last week when the double fence went up when term started back and he told me you have to look at the person that is in there that is paying the canteen fee and have the contract; and furthermore, the persons that inside may have to come out and he was not interested.
“So, you would have to do what you got to do when you have children and bills.”
But Lovell said she will follow the school’s wishes not to sell at lunchtime.
She said: “I sell on mornings and evenings, but it is the lunchtime period that I would not be able to sell because they have up the double fence.”
The other vendor declined to be named but joined Lovell’s comments and said she even offered to pay the school to sell on the premises.
She said: “I offered to go and pay them a little something to be in there and they still did not agree with that. They never got back to me, they never said anything.
” I am willing to pay something, donate to a club, a game – netball, anything – [to] no [avail].”
The vendor, who told Barbados TODAY she has been plying her trade at Parkinson since 2000, also claimed she provides free lunches to disadvantaged students at the Pine high school.
She said she should be allowed inside the school to sell meals, snacks, and drinks to the student body. She, too, said she would follow the school’s request not to sell anything at lunchtime.
But she added: “If we have to keep running around so all the time what sense does it make? We should be inside everyone can make a living.
“The canteen cannot provide for 1,000 and some children in an hour, it is a waste of time.”
Parkinson Memorial Principal Ian Holder gave Barbados TODAY a tour of the double fence around the school compound but declined further comment.