Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir (second right); President of BARVEN, Allister Alexander (second left); and officials touring the new BARVEN outdoor marketplace, located on the open field (opposite Weiser’s), on the Mighty Grynner Highway. (N. Phillips/BGIS)

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir, has expressed satisfaction with the relocation site for members of the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs (BARVEN).

The new BARVEN Outdoor Marketplace, located on the open field (opposite Weiser’s), on the Mighty Grynner Highway, replaces the temporary vending area at Cheapside, The City. This new accommodation, comprising brightly painted stalls, will house 72 vendors. 

Minister Weir said he was glad to see provisions in place to help them resume their livelihoods, acknowledging their “sacrifice” of suspending operations during the early stages of the COVID-19 curfews, as the old space did not allow for social distancing.

He added it was a reflection of his Ministry’s efforts to foster entrepreneurship within the agricultural sector to facilitate vendors, and to ensure food security, in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Minister described the marketplace as “aesthetically pleasing”, stating: “I think that this represents tremendous improvement in terms of what the members of BARVEN had to endure for all those years, and I strongly support the operation here. I like the idea of having this chattel appearance because, at any time, if we need to we can make the necessary adjustments.”

“We have running water and good facilities in terms of bathroom arrangements, and I would like to thank the Barbados Water Authority for helping us to get there,” Minister Weir added.

He also addressed traffic management in the area, stating that the entrance to the BARVEN Outdoor Marketplace is from the Deacons area, and signage would be in place to guide motorists.

Reminding persons that it was a traffic offence to make right turns off the Highway, the Minister appealed to motorists to “obey the traffic wardens … and the island constables who would help to control the traffic”.

Meanwhile, President of BARVEN, Allister Alexander, thanked Government and other agencies that played a role in helping vendors to resume their trades during this difficult period.  

He said he was pleased with Government’s swift response to their plight, and was confident the marketplace would be a “grand success.”

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security’s Markets Division and other departments; the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance; the Barbados Water Authority; the National Cultural Foundation; the Urban Development Commission; and the Royal Barbados Police Force were praised for their work in transforming the area into the new vending site.

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