Almost 100 vendors who have been moved from their stalls to allow this week’s demolition of the old National Insurance Scheme building, the Fire Service headquarters and the temporary market on Probyn Street, have been given dislocation grants, a spokeswoman said today.
Chief Executive Officer of Haigh Communications Joy-Ann Haigh, whose company is carrying out public relations for the Bridgetown Transformation Project, told Barbados TODAY that the vendors began receiving their cheques on Saturday and said the process should be completed by today.
Barbados TODAY understands that the vendors, who fall under the jurisdiction of the Markets Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Barbados Transport Board, received cheques valued at $2,000 each.
Haigh explained that all the vendors were not handed their cheques on Saturday because several of them were busy cleaning their stalls and cashing in on last-minute sales to get rid of stock.
Haigh said: “The last work day was not Friday, they were allowed to continue to sell to get rid of any produce on Saturday, recognizing that Saturday was a big day.
“So they were in the process of selling and trying to clear up while we were giving out the cheques.”
Agents for the landlords – the Transport Board and Markets Division – observed the payouts which were to be completed today, she said.
Haigh explained that the dislocation grants will assist the vendors with meeting their personal expenses and commitments, while this phase of the project takes place.
She said: “During this time the Transport Board is also seeking to clean up that specific area for their tenants by cleaning and carrying out some repairs to the stalls. In addition, the Urban Development Commission (UDC) will start the process of getting the kiosk ready.
“During the five weeks, Haigh Communications Inc will be organizing a series of workshops for the vendors which will include finance, marketing and sales, and the Ministry of Health will be coming in to conduct a workshop on best practices when serving food.
“So we will be inviting them to the seminars in UDC’s conference room.
“So it is not just a case where you receive a dislocation grant and go home.
“The transformation is not just about demolishing a building and building a kiosk, it is also about the people. We need for the people to transform too because we want to ensure a cleaner Bridgetown and increasing their sales.”