PM encourages vendors to keep market clean
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham on Wednesday night noted that straw vendors and The Bahamas got a ‘black eye’ as a result of the garbage some of them left on Prince George Wharf when they moved from that location to the new $12 million straw market on Bay Street.
“Last week, when you moved into these new premises and the clean-up of the temporary tent site was being undertaken, some in the media chose to highlight the debris left behind by some of you,” Ingraham said at a ceremony marking the official opening of the new market.
“You got a black eye on that score and so did The Bahamas.
“The area has been cleared and the road repaved.
“Some improved landscaping will follow. The place is very different now. Let’s work together to keep it that way.”
The debris left behind by vendors created an eyesore on the wharf when thousands of cruise passengers were in town.
Ingraham told the vendors, “You are now in new premises.
“You are compliant with the law. You have paid your NIB contributions and are holders of business licences.
“I regard you as bona fide and respected independent entrepreneurs and so does the government.
“I am proud of you. Be proud of yourselves.”
Ingraham also challenged straw vendors to ‘up their game’ in the quality of goods sold in the market.
“Today represents a new day for our straw and crafts industries. It is a day to seize the future,” Ingraham said.
“In order to seize this future we must commit ourselves to significantly increasing the quantity of goods produced as well as the quality and substantiality of these goods, and the timeliness with which they are available to consumers.”
Ingraham told vendors that they must be willing to be innovative in designing and creating products in an effort to compete on the global market under the label, ‘Made in The Bahamas’.
Hundreds of vendors moved into the new market, more than 10 years after the old market was destroyed by fire.
For many years vendors had been working under a tent on Bay Street. But that tent was badly damaged by Hurricane Irene in August.
In recent weeks, vendors operated from Prince George Wharf.