There was an uncommon calm at Potter’s Cay Dock over the long holiday weekend, with several vendors visibly absent from their stalls during a time of the year typically known to bring big crowds and big money.
But ever since the fatal shooting of two men at one of the stalls, business has declined for Potter’s Cay Dock vendors.
But they say it is not the murders that have killed their business. They blame new parking policies implemented by police and a police presence never seen before on “the dock”.
Dwayne Bastian, better known as “Tall Boy”, who is the president of the Bahama Docks and Allied Venues Association and a stall owner on the dock, said there is no longer adequate parking on the dock since the police stopped vehicles from parking alongside the stalls and along the curb opposite.
“We were affected by it,” said Bastian.
“It affects the business a lot because people are not coming into Potter’s Cay Dock anymore, because we don’t have adequate parking spaces. A lot of business places are taking up most of the parking.”
Bastian said vendors have closed up shop and had to lay off staff.
One vendor told Guardian Business that he has had to cut down the amount of days he opens his stall in order to keep his business from sinking.
Bastian said he has no choice but to continue operating his business. “I don’t have anywhere to go,” he said. “I would like for the government to revisit this situation and see if we can make Potter’s Cay Dock a better and safer place.”
He said the police changed the parking situation for “security reasons”, but they stressed they would revisit it.
“It has been a month since the parking policy was changed and the decline in business is noticeable,” said another vendor who wished to remain anonymous.
Bastian said the increased police presence is appreciated by all the vendors, but lamented that hordes of police are now patrolling an empty dock.
“It’s a crying shame to know that we didn’t have the adequate police power on Potter’s Cay Dock when we needed it, but it’s here now and there is no one on the dock,” he said.
“We appreciate that they are here but they should have been here long time to diffuse some of these violent acts before they happen.”
He said he hopes the vendors and the police can come to a compromise while keeping the strong police presence.
“It was so sad that the vendors did not even have a say, it isn’t working out.”
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism