1st Public Market Day A Dismal Failure Benn!

Passing thru Bridgetown today, I decided to drive across Probyn Street where the Ministry of Agriculture was having its first public market day for non vendors. An initiative spoken of by PM Thompson during his last televised press briefing and lead by Mnister of Agriculture Haynesley Benn, fail to live up to expectations.

The public market day or open market day or whatever term it is going by, is an idea conceptualised by the government to assist persons [non vendors].  Giving them the opportunity to expose their wares to the public and in the process ease their financial strain. That’s how I understood it. So if Miss B has a kitchen garden and even if she has one or two customers, Miss B may take this opportunity to set up shop and get her stuff off of her. Of course if Miss B was smart she would sell her produce at a faction of the market cost since she is not a commercial vendor. No goods to return home and the public dollar is stretch a bit. How about the person making candles at home or others producing baked goods, lingerie, etc. To see only 5 vendors under a tent after 1.00 pm was a total shock to me. So who is to blame? Government or the persons themselves?

I say both.

First the government.

  •  I may have miss it but I don’t recall any radio announcements or print ads encouraging bajans to come out and support this venture.
  • Did the government have any idea how many persons were likely to be part of this initiative? Were persons encourage to sign up or just turn up?
  • Why wasn’t the government more clear cut as to what was expected from these open market days instead of leaving the public to second guess the concept of the idea?

To the non vendors

Gaining publicity without being a licensed vendor, advoiding red tape and getting a free spot is a plus. Unfortunately not everyone will grab that opportunity. There will be some who will see it as ‘low’.

But let us reiterate that this whole idea stem from the fact that bajans were crying out against the high cost of living – namely food prices. And that government wanted to create a niche market [weekends only] for persons to supplement their income and assist the general market wherever. But this is where the confusion comes in. If the whole idea of open market has to do with the high cost of living, then every and anybody could come and sell. But how is that helping the public? If the whole idea however has to do with  high food prices, then the government need to take the lead and import 2 or 3 containers of fruits and vegetables and along with home grown produce, set up shop and sell to the public. There are farmer’s markets around. An idea that can be expanded on if the government was really serious. Hoping persons will turn up to sell and the public would automatically gravitate to these markets is simplistic thinking. Surely the rest of the year is not going to turn out like this!

Good idea but poor planning.


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