By Carl Joseph
“Let’s create a level playing field so that everybody can feel comfortable,” was the cry by Ivan “Tex” Floyd today as he reported only making one sale on Thursday amounting to US $5.
Floyd said that with three ships in the harbour the five vendors on the beach (along with their staff complement of 3 to 5 persons) are usually able to make between US $300 to $500.
Floyd said this was not the case on Thursday because the taxi operators had found it cheaper to bring the cruise ship guests to the Castaways restaurant. The restaurant affords its guests modern state of the art beach chairs, umbrellas and waiter service at no additional cost.
“In order to get the business off the ship,” Floyd explained, “[the taxi operators] are selling the free chairs, they’re selling the umbrellas. So if a guest knows that, hey, I don’t have to pay for facilities on a beach… why not? Take the advantage. Hey, nobody can beat free.”
Floyd said that it was not just him that felt the squeeze yesterday: “I’m not just talking for myself, I’m talking for all of us… all the vendors.”
“I’m calling on the Ministry of Tourism… I’m calling on Mr. Gaston Browne to come and dialogue with us and the Castaways owner.”
Billionaire, Calvin Ayre, had recently-acquired the restaurant and Prime Minister Gaston Browne had recently completed his beachfront property at Jolly Habour. Ever since their arrival, the long-standing beach vendors have accused the rich owners of displacing them and even preventing them from earning the living they’ve enjoyed, some for over 20 years.
“This man [Calvin Ayre] has so much millions. So why is he pressuring us?,” asked Floyd, “Why is he pressuring black people?”
“We just want our equal rights and justice. We want the government to solve this problem. This thing has been going on in Jolly Harbour for far too long.”