As residents in Nelson Street welcome plans for a City facelift outlined by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, they are also calling on authorities to give young people from the area a piece of the pie.
Several residents told Barbados TODAY that while they accepted that the development will inconvenience them in some way, they believe it would be fair if young men, are hired on the construction sites.
In a national broadcast last Thursday, Prime Minister Mottley announced that in addition to the Hyatt project, there will be the construction of the Golden Square Freedom Park and the completion of the Fairchild Street Market Village which will be equipped to house 100 vending stalls.
To pave way for the redevelopment of The City under the Bridgetown Transformation Project, the former National Insurance Building on Fairchild Street, and the Barbados Fire Service headquarters on Probyn Street, and nearby markets, will be demolished.
Thirty-year-old Andel Joseph who has lived in the area all his life, said there were too many skilled young people wasting time on the blocks who need work.
“I would like them to help young people get some work when them start to rebuild because it ain’t nothing going on and young people want something to do.
“I would like them to get some work and keep off the streets. Them just on the blocks with nothing to do and all about violence and guns,” Joseph said.
A business operator said while he also embraced the project which would give Bridgetown a much-needed facelift, he hoped there was a plan to get young people involved in the process.
“The young people need work too. And it would only be fair that the young men from Nelson Street benefit from this deal since all the changes happening right around them in their home,” the operator said.
Meanwhile, another resident who referred to himself as Mr Butcher, lamented that people must accept that change was constant.
He views the project as a win for City residents because it has the potential to enhance the lives of the poor by making opportunities available.
“I believe that we should not allow material things and objects to stand in our way of progress. In order for us to progress as a small nation, we have to make sacrifices. So the building might be a historic place, but sometimes, as the old saying goes, old things bring new.
“And remember that we are a generation that is looking for progress. In my opinion getting rid of these derelict buildings is no problem once the land space is going to good use,” the resident said.
Vendors renting space in the area of the Fairchild Street Terminal also have to move to accommodate the demolition.
Many of the vendors who complained that they received word that an area close to the River Terminal has been earmarked to temporary relocate them, said they were otherwise clueless.
In fact, one sidewalk vendor declared that markets were a waste of time since customers preferred to purchase their fruits and vegetables at the side of the road.
“You go any part of the Caribbean and you have vendors outside selling. The tourists come to see people outside selling. Go to the Jamaica and you got hair doing right here on the road, and people selling. Putting people in a market is caging up people in a space that customers ain’t coming to support them,” the vendor said.
“These people trying to squeeze poor people. Where are people going to go when you shut down the area for six weeks? Them catering for the rich people, but we poor people need to survive out here too. And speaking out don’t work for poor people, because this is Barbados,” the vendor added.
Longtime vendor Henrietta Joseph said she believed that the proposed Fairchild Street Market Village should have been built before the buildings are demolished.
“They should do the market first so that everybody would be off the road when they are breaking down in there,” Joseph said. [email protected]