Money pinch on the beach
Not everyone agrees with Versee Wild who sings “That Easy”.
In fact, life isn’t easy, according to the many patrons who attended Reggae On The Beach, the event which signalled the start of the Digicel Reggae Festival.
While thousands were jamming on Brandon’s Beach, St Michael, hundreds settled for enjoying the sounds from the outside.
Shental Selman, 36, said although she would have liked to be on the grounds it simply wasn’t an option for her. “Nah boy, my money have to go to my to rent,” she said. It was a sentiment that was echoed by her nearby friends who emphatically stated that they had bills to pay
Janelle Davis, 34, quickly added that “the price of everything – food, rent, light, bus fare” going up. She couldn’t say how much more she was paying for anything other than bus fare, but she said she knew her money wasn’t going as far as it used to.
On the street, there were few vendors out plying their trade.
There was but one lone vendor selling fruit and drinks and two selling icees, but with very few takers.
Inside, things weren’t much better.
As the crowd began to pack into the venue, absent were the typical queues at the food and drink vendors. Richard Smith, brand manager for Farmer’s Choice, noticed a difference in the choices his customers were making. He said that whereas people used to buy a lot of hotdogs, hamburgers and fries individually, they were opting for the value specials which combined the hotdogs or hamburgers with the fries.
Philip Colucci, manager of Island Grill, said patrons weren’t buying as much as expected. “We get a trickle of people, then it settles off. But it’s still early” he said with a hopeful look that things would get better.