Letters & Opinion

Change Is Not Always Easily Accepted

Image: Jeremie Street provisions vendors, days before eviction.
Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

Of late, the city council has been trying to make changes at the central market place, hoping for a better quality of service, as well as creating a more improved facility.

But it’s not all venders who have embraced those intended changes, some claiming that a change of location will reduce their sales, others that there was not enough consultation or discussion on the issue, while still others jumped at the opportunity, citing a better tomorrow.

No doubt, through the eyes of the Mayor and the Council, all they do is supposed to be for betterment, yet there is a strong notion among venders that an improved facility will come with bigger rental fees.

While this may be true, one of the major problems, as I see it, is that the vending populations have outgrown the market place and what the government will have to consider is building a bigger or new market facility, either at the present location or elsewhere, to embrace the growing vending population.

Yes, the CCC recently published plans for a larger market, but what about the time until then?

The space now being used to temporarily relocate the market venders is already marked for tourism expansion. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes we look at the needs of visitors before we assess our own people’s needs — especially if it pertains to the common folks.

The mayor has good plans for the future of the market. But he has to be careful about being seen as seeing the building of airports and seaports, as well as major hotel resorts, as ‘first priority needs’ and dealing with the people’s needs an afterthought.

Our predecessors’ Slave Labour is supposed to have given us certain rights of inheritance, but it would seem that some of those rights and privileges have been overlooked by some of those in charge today, as the powers-that-be keep seeing progress from a very different point of view.

All over the First World, especially in the United States of America, their people come first, but we are doing things in reverse – putting others first — because we think that the more we do for outsiders, the better our chances of obtaining funds and grants or loans in the name of progress.

I predict that at some time in the future the people will become rebellious because we have not fought all our battles well enough – and that’s because we feel deprived of the right to our own prosperity; and progress seems to be only for a few.

Again, that’s because, as the saying goes, you can fool the people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.

Life has to be a balancing act. Those who stayed here and endured have rights, those whose birthrights are legitimate, also have rights.

We don’t have to buy passports, or pay to become the St Lucians we are and development has to embrace all of us, especially the common folks. Division by class will breed animosity, and the gains of the present can vanish in a twinkle of an eye.

I sometimes applaud the planners and the government for their futuristic plans, but I also think that they sometimes miss out on simple solutions, as being up there sometimes makes them not notice what is down here.

I consider such planning to be spearheaded by dedicated fools, not by realistic people, because they must remember that simple folks also make-up this society and we are all ‘belongers’.

But, all that said, I wish the CCC and the vendors mutual success in the new venture to make vending better, easier and more profitable for venders.

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