Sen. Haynesley Benn
Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn, is calling for more attention to be paid to the vendors at the Cheapside Market.
During a tour of the facility this morning, Minister Benn said that it was “high time” for the marketing of the Cheapside institution to be enhanced.
Noting that some of the vendors, particularly the ones located upstairs, had been complaining of the lack of public interest paid to them, the Senator said the “Ministry was working towards getting members of the public back inside the market.”
“Of the 24 stalls allocated to vendors upstairs, only six are currently occupied. Something needs to be done to sensitise the public that not only can they purchase fruit and vegetables downstairs, but they could also come upstairs and view the variety of garments or even get something to eat from the food court,” he urged.
According to “Moses”, a vendor located upstairs, one of the contributing factors to poor sales was illegal vending on the outside, in addition to members of the public not being made aware that there were other conveniences located within the market.
“The public doesn’t know we are here. We should be proud to say we operate from Cheapside Market, since we are located right in the heart of town … but yet few sales are made,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, after the tour, Senator Benn assured that his Ministry was committed to creating greater awareness of the market. He said it boasted excellent facilities, especially the butchers’ market which was lacking in patronage. “We produce good quality meat at excellent prices, however, we see the need to upgrade the market in terms of making it more appealing whether this is achieved through entertainment, by having school groups, calypsonians, chimers or even steel pannist.” he said.
He urged the garment and food vendors, as well as the butchers to form their own association and “come to the Ministry with ideas, and meet with me along with my officials about charting a sustainable way forward.”