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Evictions Over Straw Market Debts

The Straw Market on Bay Street.

The Straw Market on Bay Street.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

WITH thousands of dollars in rent arrears owed by vendors, the Straw Market Authority is hard pressed trying to find a way for the Straw Market to exist, Works Minister Desmond Bannister told The Tribune yesterday.

Mr Bannister yesterday confirmed there have been evictions at the downtown Nassau Straw Market as many vendors have had several deadlines to pay money owed, in some cases for years.

This comes as some vendors were reportedly given four-day notice last week to pay balances off or have their business licences revoked by the Small Market Authority (SMA).

When he was contacted yesterday, the minister said he couldn’t comment on the status of the present situation but given the thousands owed for rent, it was hard to run the Straw Market.

Rent for the stalls is $37.50 per week.

“They’ve had deadlines several times,” Mr Bannister said yesterday. “I mean we have people at the Straw Market who have not paid rent for years. Three, four years (and) this is $30 something dollars per week adding up to thousands and thousands of dollars.

“We can’t run a market like that. I am not aware of what is going on currently, but the board has to find a way to ensure that the Straw Market can exist.”

He continued: “Over a period of time, people have been evicted. There are thousands and thousands of dollars involved.

“That board has their hands full just trying to exist because people have gotten around for years without paying anything.”

Back in April, dozens of Straw Market vendors demonstrated in Rawson Square incensed over closures of hundreds of stalls for rent arrears which they felt were symptomatic of predatory and oppressive regulatory oversight.

Vendors of the Straw Business Person’s Society (SBPS) marched to the square in a bid to raise the profile of longstanding issues afflicting Straw Market businesses, chief among them said to be the lack of ownership, respect or job security despite intergenerational service at the forefront of the tourism industry in a bleak economy.

According to the vendors at the time, more than 200 stalls were shuttered for overdue rent.

“They sent down a notice communication February 23 telling the vendors those who are on agreement (they) have to bring their account current, and anyone who is not on agreement to bring it below $200, short of that licence will be revoked until further notice,” Straw Business Person’s Society (SBPS) President Rev Esther Thompson said in April.

“The stalls are closed, in the October exercise, 127 stalls were closed, in this session of the 223 that were affected, they closed 51. This Sunday they closed another 25. I understand they are going to look at accounts weekly – anyone that misses a payment, their stalls would automatically be closed,” she said at the time.

Rev Thompson said vendors have asked for all stalls to be returned and to be granted a year waiver for rent in a bid to allow vendors to bring their licences and National Insurance Board payments current.

Comments

DDK 1 year, 4 months ago

No more exemptions. The entire facility and restrooms have long been maintained at the expense of The People. Everyone else has to pay their rent and VAT on top of that! Enough is enough. Perhaps available stalls should be rented out for other authentic Bahama-made arts and crafts and extended to include locally licenced manufactured bottled and jarred food and drinks items.....

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Alex_Charles 1 year, 4 months ago

Pay your rent or GET OUT!

I don't care about sob stories, $37.50 to sell Chinese knock off goods is a good price.

This reminds me of when V. Alfred Gray stated that persons were in arrears under the bridge for years, even though some made an excess of $100,000k a year and the rent was only $90 a month. Sick and tired of this garbage. Put they arses OUT!

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joeblow 1 year, 4 months ago

I agree they should pay or get out, but what about the Haitians and Jamaicans in the "Bahamian" straw market?

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ohdrap4 1 year, 4 months ago

they work for bahamian overlords.

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TalRussell 1 year, 4 months ago

Ma Comrades, whose people team are they playing for?
Is this how a starved of compassion Imperial red shirts cabinet should govern?
Minister Desmond backs already taken place evictions out onto the streets for non-payment $37 weekly rent for the stalls while minister Dion has a whole commission of 30 warm bodies out scouting for thousandth rental accommodations 'dislodged" Shantytown residents, { Can't make this up }.

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Alex_Charles 1 year, 4 months ago

what happens when you do your rent Tal?

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TalRussell 1 year, 4 months ago

Sorry Ma Comrade, you lost me?

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Alex_Charles 1 year, 4 months ago

apologies for this autocorrect on my computer.

What happens when you DON'T pay your rent?

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 4 months ago

This is how the PLP messes up things ......... they did not build the Market after they won in 2002 .......... The FNM re-built the Market after 2007 ........ Then the PLP stacked the place with their supporters after 2012 .......... Now the FNM has to clean out the place again ....... SMH

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CaptainCoon 1 year, 4 months ago

The PLP runs everything into the ground! Rotten leadership and voodoo economics!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 4 months ago

We have such short memories. Every time there is a change in the governing majority from FNM to PLP or PLP to FNM, out go the old delinquent PLP straw market vendors and in come the new soon to be equally delinquent FNM straw market vendors. If there's one thing we have learned about the dimwitted Doc so far, he's quite capable of instigating political victimization in much the same way that Pindling, Ingraham and Christie did before him. LOL

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DDK 1 year, 4 months ago

So does that make The DOC dim-witted or dangerous? Or does that make all of the aforementioned heroes and wannabes dim-witted AND dangerous?

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 4 months ago

Haitians and Jamaicans working for the Chinese. A complete disgrace.

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BahamaPundit 1 year, 4 months ago

Why not split each stall into two or three or four mini stalls for less rent and let every Bahamian have a chance to sell something to tourists on Bay Street. Then it would be the people's time!

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Naughtydread 1 year, 4 months ago

Sounds like a great idea, so instead of having 1 person who won't pay there rent lets have 4. We all know tourists love to be hassled by ghetto vendors trying to sell cheap Chinese made garbage to them. Goes to show your true PLP state of mind, when you can't pay your bills just point the finger and say "awwwe well he ain pay he bill either" and when tings real tough just pull the race card and start blaming white people for everything.

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Alex_Charles 1 year, 4 months ago

not sure what race has to do with anything in this conversation. I don't know who hurt you Naughty, but you need to work that out. I can agree with you on the not splitting the stalls. If 1 person won't pay, why complicate it by adding more people to the equation?

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TalRussell 1 year, 4 months ago

Ma Comrade BahaPundit, we should no more expect the Public Straw Market to be run likes fine-tuned private money making business - than to force Rupert Roberts hire ministers Desmond and Dion brung's their management style over run two he Super Value stores... There is major deference's between brungin' efficiency to a government owned and operated Public Straw Market - than to have evicted Vendors for falling behind on they's $37 weekly Stall rents.
{ Ongoing evictions is not something all made up }.

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Clamshell 1 year, 4 months ago

Face it: There remains a solid segment of Bahamian society who refuse to pay for anything unless they can eat it, wear it or sleep on it. Same reason why people don’t pay the electric bill: “‘Lectric? Wha’ ‘lectric?”

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realfreethinker 1 year, 4 months ago

$37.50 per week? Are they serious? They are in the wrong business if they cant afford that.

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