Statistics from the straw business person authority reveal that over two-hundred straw vendors in the Bay Street, Cable Beach and Paradise Island areas have lost their jobs over the last year and many more continue struggling to meet the rent demands that now stand at an estimated forty dollars per week. Communications officer of the straw business person authority Rebecca Small shared a number of the vendor’s concerns with the media but emphasized the poor management of the facility. Officials of the straw business person authority said they sought out the help of the Member of Parliment for Englerston the Honourable Glenys Hanna-Martin after many of their cries fell on deaf ears. Hanna-Martin, who joined the group at the straw market relayed her understanding of what the straw market authority was guilty of doing to the vendors.
She said “On their side of the operation we see a side of lacadazical non-preforming stance and lack of accountability there’s something wrong with that, where you believe that since you have the authority that you can lord it over business people at the same time not be accountable the statute passed in parliament speaks to accountability one is maintenance. I have the utmost respect for the people in this industry, it is mostly populated by women entrepreneurs historically they have built a nation and so I think I understand fully the importance of this to our culture, our history and to our future. A few of the vendors added their concerns which included the need for a large sign, and most importantly, the maintenance of the straw market vicinity. Terez Eneas “We work in the straw market what supposed to be the world famous straw market and not a sign, tourists come right here I here carving they say can you show me where the straw market is I said you are in the straw market. I see a few years ago when a tourist off the cruise ship said the Bahamas dirty and stink a lot of the vendors and the Bahamian people had a problem with that but the tourist wasn’t lying every day I come here to work I have to pick up the broom and sweep around here”
Another vendor, James Rolle said, “The facilities and how it’s been managed is just in a terrible state if you look right here let me show you that light was out from the former government and it’s still out now from the present government and this government has been in over one year.” The Minister of Works the Honorable Desmond Bannister says that vendors whose stalls were taken away over the past year had large overdue bills they were unable to pay. Bannister also responded to the vendors’ concerns saying that the government is doing what they can to help them but asks that they be patient during the process. Bannister said “They have many many challenges and the government does not want to add to their challenges we want to be there as their partner and their facilitator so where there has been an issue with the lighting I sincerely apologize, we are trying to do the best we can but we have to do it within a system that requires us to do certain things and we are going to try to ensure that we are going to do the best to make sure lighting is there but the board is also going to assist them in some ways to make sure they get some of the assistance that they need.