VENDORS at upper Frederick Street opposite Memorial Park, on Carnival Tuesday complained of lost sales because of the lockdown on streets around the Port of Spain jail. One man said the lockdown of several streets, including part of upper Frederick Street, altered the route of the Parade of Bands, forcing masqueraders away from the western edge of the park and onto the eastern edge, that is, Charlotte Street.
Vendor Terry John told Newsday, “On this strip, it’s a real hustle. No band is passing here and nobody even told us. We only had one J’Ouvert band pass on Carnival Monday.” He said he had paid $600 for his spot for the whole Carnival, but had to pay workers and pay a “peak” price for beer of $168 a case, up from the usual $150. With lower than usual sales, John said he had to drop his price: “I’m selling three for $25.
“I’m looking for a better Carnival 2019.” Asked if now he will make any profit given the smaller than usual attendance plus the diverted parade route, he replied, “Yes, I’m not here just for nothing.”
While he was glad for his sales to onlookers as opposed to masqueraders, he sent a message to the authorities: “Don’t make us put out our money to come here to sell, yet you don’t have the flow of people.”
He understood the reason for the prison lockdown, but said some bands could have been allowed to turn off Charlotte Street and along Keate Street and onto upper Frederick Street heading to the Queen’s Park Savannah. “You must give us the chance to make something. We need masqueraders not just pedestrians.”
A female vendor nearby told Newsday, “It’s very few people around here, just look.” She urged more facilities in the area, such as toilets, or otherwise tourists might stop coming for Carnival.