Vendors at the Scarborough market who are relocating to the temporary facility set up at Shaw Park, a move which began yesterday, say they expect the new site would be their place of business in the coming years.
On Saturday morning, vendor Walters Pope told Newsday Tobago that he welcomed the move but feared the 18 months temporary stay at Shaw Park will turn into 18 years.
“If you look at the structure and the money they put into building that structure, you really think they will move us there for a short time. No. They just gave us a time to fool us into moving, then months will turn into years, but we are just vendors and we don’t have a choice,” Pope said.
Another vendor, Eustace Miller, felt the Shaw Park location would mean a loss in sales. And he too believed the temporary site would eventually become permanent. “The market supposed to be in the city where banks and other businesses are so people can easily access us. Up there (Shaw Park) has no foot traffic. Also, a man who has no car will prefer to go up to Bacolet to buy from other roadside vendors who are easily accessible.
“We have no other choice to move but I will say this, when they move us we are not coming back here. That market up there was built official, not temporary,” Miller said.
He also said he was prepared to sell his produce from his home in east Tobago if his sales decrease with the move to Shaw Park.
Samuel Jonny, another produce vendor, briefly told Newsday Tobago:
“When they move I will be going home because I am nearly 84.” He said he was not excited about the move and preferred to stay at home when the market is relocated to Shaw Park.
Other vendors were excited about the move, though, even as they too believed they would not be returning to the Scarborough market site.
“I am ready to move so that they can do the work they need to do in the old market although I personally believe we are not coming back here,” said one vendor who didn’t give her name.
“In order to get progress, I welcome the move. I know some people don’t like change, but I know at the new location, it will be more comfortable than where we are now. I will just miss when the tourists come in directly from the cruise ship…
“I know they say it is temporary, but in my heart I don’t believe it is temporary and you see how old I am, I know I might not live to see the repairs done to the old Scarborough market.”
A fruit vendor, a Mr Job, described the other vendors as ungrateful. He said he was excited to move to the new venue where he said meat vendors can benefit from the clean environment with a cold storage area.
He also said he wasn’t making any plans to return to the Scarborough site.
“Come back here. We are not coming back here, the market itself will not be coming back to Scarborough, they just fooling people by telling them we will return here. After they spend so much millions at the temporary market, they will destroy that in 18 months to move us back. By the time the market is repaired in Scarborough, all the elderly people in here (market) will be dead,” he said.
Mr Job also took the opportunity to complain about the lack of interest by young people in the agriculture sector, noting that there were hardly any enthusiastic young farmers selling in the market.
The vendors have been given from May 13-22 to pack up their good and move to the Shaw park location. Operations at the new market will begin on May 23.