The Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources released a statement yesterday to clarify concerns raised by Potter’s Cay Dock vendors who have said for months that their businesses have been disadvantaged by changes made to the area following the murder of two men.
The ministry said in its statement that a “small group of vendors” protested outside its offices on Thursday, calling for the removal of Potter’s Cay Dock’s appointed manager.
However, the ministry contended that while the manager is not responsible for the policy changes made at Potter’s Cay Dock, concerns should be reported to the manager and only when appropriate, reported to the ministry’s senior management.
The statement added: “The manager at Potter’s Cay is not empowered to act on his own outside of the oversight of the ministry and, as such, routinely updates his superiors on concerns relative to the vendors. Therefore, it was disappointing that the group of vendors protesting sought to personalize their concerns to the manager.”
Some vendors told Guardian Business recently that they complained that a policy change regarding parking seems to have had the worst effect on their businesses. Customers are no longer allowed to street park alongside stalls in the evening.
“Parking in the front of the stalls has been a concern of the vendors following the restrictions imposed by the harbor master and enforced by the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) in the wake of the last spate of incidents there, where three persons were murdered over a 12-month span,” the ministry stated.
“Vendors and patrons parking directly in front of the stalls on the causeway disrupts the steady flow of traffic on Potter’s Cay and also creates a safety concern, as access by large vehicles is compromised. The call to relax those restrictions rests with the RBPF and the harbor master and both have expressed their concern about such.”
And while there are parking areas, some vendors say they are not well lit and spaces are often taken up by the customers of businesses not associated with Potter’s Cay Dock.
“It is our hope that once the work is completed to add additional lighting to the east and west parking lots, patrons will have no issues finding safe, well-illuminated spaces to park,” noted the ministry.
“The ministry has issued letters to the businesses on East Bay Street that have been using the parking spaces reserved for Potter’s Cay patrons and we anticipate their cooperation in this regard.”
Vendors also continue to call for their stalls to be electrified, something the ministry said it is continuing to work on along with Bahamas Power and Light.
“The ministry wishes to assure the public that the historic site of Potter’s Cay remains a priority, however, we are fully aware of the complex issues in bringing Potter’s Cay to its full potential,” the ministry’s statement noted.
“We have begun discussions with a number of stakeholders, including the vendors, toward that goal in the short and long term and will update all stakeholders as things progress. We are deeply committed to the success of the vendors and the creation of a quality, cultural space for Bahamians and visitors alike and we look forward to a productive working relationship with all parties involved.”