CWC sales potential overrated, says Stabroek Market Square vendors

Kaieteur News
April 12, 2007

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It was nothing out of the ordinary, in terms of sales, for vendors who ply their trade at the Stabroek Market Square during the course of Guyana 's hosting of Cricket World Cup (CWC) which concluded last Monday.

Speaking to Kaieteur News, yesterday, several of the small business persons revealed that they, like the majority of the populace, had anticipated a massive increase in sales during the much talked about “heavy influx of tourists”.

But according to Sherwin Miles, “They kept saying that they expecting a set of tourists in the town but during the CWC we didn't see them. Nobody came like we expected.”

The obviously disappointed vendor pointed out that there was no noteworthy incentive from selling during the period.

“We thought that at least for the big game with the West Indies and Sri Lanka we would have gotten major sales, but nothing of the sort.”

Miles noted that it was the regular Guyanese customers who patronised vendors during CWC, something he expects will continue regardless of which event is hosted here.

He however asserted that the most important thing is that they have all been able to return to their stalls.

Reiterating this view another vendor, Andre Benjamin, said, “We just grateful we get back we spots. I thankful because I got a small business loan to pay; I got kids to send to school and I have bills to pay.”

Benjamin, too, lamented the fact that there was no increase in sales, noting that the few transactions were from several persons from Trinidad , Barbados , Jamaica and the United States , which occur year round.

He noted that, as is customary, the main attraction was a few caps and jerseys labelled ‘ Guyana ', from which a few dollars were derived.

“Is from we own Guyanese people we got the sales…Easter time as usual they does come out in their numbers and buy we gears to go and fly their kites. That is normal Guyanese tradition every year.”

Another vendor, Diane Nelson, said that her observation of the few tourists who visited her stall was not very impressive, since it is her belief that they demonstrated frugal tendencies towards fairly priced commodities.

She pointed out that while they (the vendors) were aroused with the CWC excitement the sales derived were less than exciting.

“We did everything we could to make the place attractive and appealing but it didn't increase the sales one bit. They just didn't come around here like we expected.”

The general consensus among the vendors, however, is that they are grateful for being given the opportunity to return to their preferred area of operation, something which stirred up a great deal of controversy prior to the mega event.

The vendors were evicted from the area, prior to the commencement of road works which were carried out by the Council in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works.

The eviction was not taken very lightly by the vendors and some even took the matter to the High Court and were able to secure an injunction against the Town Clerk, who they believed was the main instigator of the action against them.

And after a series of protests by the vendors and public outcries from several prominent officials including City Mayor Hamilton Green, the vendors, days before the start of CWC, were able to reclaim their spots at the Stabroek Market Square .