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Potter's Cay Stallholders Say Parking Ban Hurting Business

Potter’s Cay Dock. Photo: Shawn Hanna /Tribune Staff

Potter’s Cay Dock. Photo: Shawn Hanna /Tribune Staff

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

GREGORY Bowles used to pay his $900 monthly rent with ease but is now three months behind and waiting to be evicted from his apartment along with his wife.

The 54-year-old has also laid off three employees since police officers began enforcing a government policy disallowing parking in front of stalls at Potter's Cay dock, which vendors blame for a crushing drop in business.

He and others protested the policy yesterday around East Bay Street, shouting that they can't pay their bills and demanding that Gregory Minnis, Potter's Cay dock's manager, be fired.

The Ministry of Agriculture said in June that loading zones are designated for offloading supplies and services and were never intended to be used as parking spaces. It added that police are concerned that parking in front of stalls pose safety and security challenges and the ministry said it would work to renew public confidence in Potter's Cay in collaboration with vendors. However, two months later, vendors say 15 stalls have shut down and the area on the weekend bears no resemblance to the bustling centre of activity it used to be.

"We normally used to have like 1,500 to 2,000 people out here on a Friday, now we have more police here than customers," said Henry Bannister, 51, owner of the Conch Venue stall. He said before the rules about parking he could make up to $300 or $400 a day but now brings in about $50.

In May, two men were killed at a stall at Potter's Cay dock. When The Tribune visited the area yesterday, cars were parked in loading zones contrary to the rules. A vendor said the reprieve was because police had simply not shown up yet.

Edward McPhee's four-year-old son, Jorron, stood on a wooden railing and played with anyone who paid attention to him.

"I'm not even able to find his school fee," his father said. "He's out of pre-school because of that."

Mr McPhee, 60, said he had owned his stall for 25 years.

"Before the rule I could make, especially on a weekend, up to $1,000," he said. "Now on average I'm making about $75. The deficit has been enormous. I'm down with my national insurance, light bill, water bill, I just barely managing to feed myself. I'm a few months behind on bills to the Ministry of Agriculture as well."

Vendors guessed that up to 60 people have lost their jobs since the policy change earlier this year.

Dwayne Bastian, owner of the Tall Boy stall and president of the Bahamas Docks and Allied Venues Association, said he has let go five people. Mr McPhee said he has done the same.

Mr Bowles said he believes the government wants them off the dock and has implemented the parking policy change to accomplish this.

"It seems everybody more concerned about the Haitians than us," he said, alluding to Abaco shanty town residents affected by Hurricane Dorian. "We're hurting here at Potter's Cay and no one seems to care."

Comments

SP 1 month, 1 week ago

This sounds like another nightmare and is typical of so-called "powers that be" that make decisions without consulting people on the ground that will be affected.

The police are only carrying out orders. It is the genius idiot at the top that made the no parking decision without any criteria other than he "thought" it would be a nice idea.

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Chucky 1 month, 1 week ago

I disagree. People to lazy to walk is the problem.

As for rule makers consulting with “stakeholders”; that is a slippery slope that usually ends in rules created to serve capitalist interests at the expense of the populous.

Clearly, we want rules that serve the greater good, and if this results in the failure of a few businesses, so be it. People won’t stop eating, so this just means they’re shopping somewhere else. That’s what the free market system is all about.

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bcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

Who cares the emperor still has his new clothes.

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BMW 1 month, 1 week ago

People to lazy to park and walk, instead they complain, some walking might help!

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mandela 1 month, 1 week ago

Yes either they were real customers visiting for the experience potters' cay has to offer or persons looking to be a menace, walking to enjoy the Cay should not be a problem. the parking area is a minute (60) seconds away, when they visit Atlantis courtyard they walk for longer with no complaint, also the stakeholders need to make the CAY a place people would want to walk to. simple.

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sealice 1 month, 1 week ago

they walk further and have to pay 2x to park over there but you don't hear anyone complaing???

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bobnevil 1 month, 1 week ago

ah lord poor fat people has to walk to their cars after a big fattering meal on a stinking fish dock,rank of pee,an ting

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birdiestrachan 1 month, 1 week ago

We shall see very soon what restrictions the new cruise port will bring.

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SP 1 month, 1 week ago

Anyone asinine enough to believe a vendors' income went from $1,000 to $75 simply because his entire customer base is' "too lazy to walk" is too lazy for rational thought!

Either the vendors are making up stories or there is more underlying reason(s) contributing to the huge decline of business. The majority of a businesses' customer base doesn't just evaporate somewhere for frivolous reasons.

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Sickened 1 month, 1 week ago

Agree! Sounds like the cars parked so close may have been making sales of another sort for the vendor. Just speculation of course!!

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