Wednesday, October 9, 2019
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
IT IS disappointing that Potter's Cay Dock vendors called for dock manager Gregory Minnis to resign during their protest last week, the Ministry of Agriculture said yesterday.
The government's parking policy, preventing patrons from parking in front of stalls, has upset vendors who complain of reduced business.
The ministry said in a statement yesterday: "The ministry acts in the role of landlord for the vendors operating on Potter's Cay. The representative of the ministry at that venue is the manager.
"Any concerns that vendors may have should be communicated to and dealt with by the manager and, whenever appropriate, advanced to the ministry's senior management.
"The manager at Potter's Cay is not empowered to act on his own outside of the oversight of the ministry, and as such, routinely updates his superiors on concerns relative to the vendors. Therefore, it was disappointing that the group of vendors protesting sought to personalise their concerns to the manager."
The ministry reiterated that parking is no longer allowed in front of stalls because doing so disrupts the steady flow of traffic on Potter's Cay and creates safety concerns.
"The call to relax those restrictions rests with the RBPF and the harbour master and both have expressed their concern about such," the ministry said. Officials also said they hope proper lighting in the east and west parking lots will be fully erected soon so patrons can park in safe, well illuminated spaces.
The ministry said it has issued letters to businesses on East Bay Street whose workers have been using parking spaces reserved for Potter's Cay patrons, telling them to discontinue doing this. Work is also continuing to electrify dock stalls, though the work has been slow, the ministry said.
"The ministry wishes to assure the public that the historic site of Potter's Cay remains a priority, however we are fully aware of the complex issues in bringing Potter's Cay to its full potential," the ministry said.
"We have begun discussions with a number of stakeholders, including the vendors, toward that goal in the short and long term and will update all stakeholders as things progress.
We are deeply committed to the success of the vendors and the creation of quality cultural space for Bahamians and visitors alike and we look forward to a productive working relationship with all parties involved."
In June, the ministry released a similar statement saying it was working on measures to renew confidence in the dock.
Last week, vendors guessed that nearly 60 people have been laid off since the new rules were implemented and 15 stalls have closed down.
Vendors spoke about struggling to pay bills as their profits dramatically decreased.