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July 25, 2007

Comments

anonymous

we've really got to do something to drive more traffic to your site. Other blogs about far less important or interesting things pull in hundreds of comments on articles that were a waste of time to read.

My crazy thoughts:

Get some white people, both tourists and Bahamians, give them cameras and let them record what actually goes on in the straw market (there are already a few on youtube).

Conduct another survey on how much of the stuff is not bahamian.

Remind the public of the '85% imported' statistics from 1983.

Show them the results of the new survey and the video of what it's like for a tourist (or light skinned bahamian) to actually visit the market.

Then, let the public vote on:
* whether to build a new market
* whether the vendors should pay rent (partially repay the cost of building a new market)
* whether vendors should be required to obtain some sort of license that entitles them to their place in the market
* whether vendors should be allowed to let unqualified, unlicensed, unprofessional, unfriendly, non-Bahamians operate their stalls
* whether Immigration officers should be placed on permanent patrol in and around the market and cruise ship areas.

After all, for many, Bay Street is the only part of the Bahamas they'll see. Do we really want so many vulgar, aggressive, and greedy Haitians, Jamaicans, and others standing in the way between the cruise ships and the Bahamian vendors?

larry smith

Well, we certainly need to build a consensus around a rational solution to this ridiculous and never-ending problem.

And if you can promote this site, I thank you.

dadon589

This is a good one. Man! This article and the points made need to be brought to the forefront of the bahamain conciousness. These are the questions we should be asking ourselves on this issue and it certainly justifies not going forward with the $23M contract. Sad to see the political elite tried to cash in on the vendors at the publics expense. Too many theives in Nassau.

 Helen Astarita

I read with great interest your wonderful article acquainting many folks with the history of the straw market.

Since my time in the Bahamas goes back to the very early 60s I can recall both of the previous fires.
It is truly sad that they occurred, but had both of those markets been better maintained by the vendors themselves by not allowing the rats and garbage to accrue, the fires might not have spread as rapidly as they did.

The fact that many of the current vendors are of Haitian decent and that it is rare to find a ‘made in the Bahamas’ product made of native straw in the market rather defeats their cries of help.

I remember well while cruising through these islands in the 60s and 70s seeing many old folks as well as youngsters sitting in the shade in front of their cottages weaving the rolls of plait that would end up on the freight boats to Nassau.

Then the folks here would sew them into the lined bags and decorate them with the coloured raffia.
In fact many of the scraps left from cuttings at Bahama Hand Prints and Androsia were donated to them for the linings.

I for one feel the current government well within its rights to re-examine any plans of spending that exorbitant amount of money for a building when many vendors are probably not even paying their National insurance and hiring foreign workers.

You asked what I think and now you know!!

A. Nonymous

* whether vendors should be allowed to let unqualified, unlicensed, unprofessional, unfriendly, non-Bahamians operate their stalls
* whether Immigration officers should be placed on permanent patrol in and around the market and cruise ship areas.

After all, for many, Bay Street is the only part of the Bahamas they'll see. Do we really want so many vulgar, aggressive, and greedy Haitians, Jamaicans, and others standing in the way between the cruise ships and the Bahamian vendors?

really?

have you stop to think that the reason these "vulgar, aggressive, greedy Haitians Jamaicans and others..." have to be that way is so that they can meet the exorbitant rents being charged by the vulgar, aggressive, greedy Bahamians who own the stalls?

Frankly, the market as envisioned should be scrapped. The mythology of all the many prominent Bahamians who got their start there is fine but that does not mean the rest of us should pay for it.

It is a business like any other and it should be subject to the laws and regulations governing commerce.

If they want tax payers to subsidise the building they should pay - licences, national insurance and maintenance fees.

Here is another idea. Simply upgrade the tent - out of vendors' fees. The place has the feel of all such markets world-wide - seedy, dank, hot, cheap, overpriced. It is an experience and that is what the tourists come for, isn't? an experience.

The vendors can't have it both ways. Just install and maintain proper toilet facilities. Insist on licences and national insurance.

The market is fine as it is.

If the government wants to do something with the hole in the ground well let it be part of the ongoing discussion of the "development of downtown Nassau". If history is an indicator, that one has a shelf life well into the 22nd century.

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