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Vendors fearful

Marlon Madden

Vendors fearful

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AS TALKS CONTINUE about the pending closure of the Almond Beach Village monthend, small business operators along the beach in that area are worried about the effect it could have on their livelihood.
Some of the watersport operators and beach vendors told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY they have already started making preparations to ply their trade elsewhere? while others are fearful they may be out of work for a while as they “wait and see” what will happen following the hotel’s closure.
Ron Husbands, a jet-ski operator in that area for the past 30 years, said that job has been his only source of income and he has a family to care for.
“It will affect us a lot. The whole West Coast gone now; here gone, Kings Beach gone. . . . I didn’t start making any plans yet because this happened so sudden. I don’t have time to make plans. I have three children and a wife,” lamented Husbands.
Romain Bend said: “This is how I get a little bread on a day. I work a boat and jet ski for commission. . . . This hotel is important to us.”
Another water sport operator, Javan Best said the closure of the hotel would mean the absence of income for some of them for a temporary period which, he said, could result in a disruption in their lives.
“So in general business on the beach, primarily down here, will be affected negatively. When this hotel shut down, a lot of people down here will be affected. If someone buy it and open up then hopefully more opportunities will open up. . . ,” said the operator for over 20 years.
There are approximately 12 jet-ski operators and three boat operators on any given day at the St Peter location. Some of them hire the jet skis to work and some work on a commission basis for owners of the equipment.
“This shutting down will bring a lot of worrying concerns for people who make their livelihood here; people who have been working here for 20 and 30 years to build their house and feed their families,” added Best, noting that he was prepared to do some plumbing and carpentry should the hotel close.
Meanwhile, beach vendor Cheryl Bayley said: “I guess we will just have to stay home until someone does buy the place. So we will be out of work for a little while. I don’t want to move. I wish someone would buy the place and we could still operate here.”
She said that while waiting, though, she would be contacting the National Conservation Commission “to find out if I could operate in Holetown and see what changes they could make to the licence”.