Woodcarving takes a nosedive
Like most of the other vendors who ply their wares along West End Road in Negril, Leroy Malcolm opens his craft shop each day with the hope that his fortunes will change.
While most vendors declined the request for an interview, Malcolm did not hesitate when the WESTERN STAR visited West End recently.
The struggling woodcarver says that he can recall the day when he left his home in Cambridge, St James, in the 1980s and journeyed to the resort village in search of a better life. Encouraged by a friend to go into carving, he began by selling his products at wholesale rates to craft vendors, but after a while, business took a nosedive.
"It not as profitable as before," he told WESTERN STAR. "It is very rare we sell something because the tourist is kept on the hotel property and is just a selected few is allowed to sell."
"The all-inclusive hotel thing mess up the small man. Now, West End dead," he added. " ... back in the day, you could put on your pot and come to your shop, but it totally different now because right now, I have to find other work to make sure I have food on my table."
Malcolm has high praises for small hotel operations like the Rock House, whose management encourages guests to spend within the community. Malcolm is, however, hoping that the tourism ministry will once again see his trade as an integral part of the industry and provide the necessary support so that he can do what he loves to do best.