Return of bauxite : Lunchtime! - Food vendors keep Alpart workers going

June 20, 2017
Ian Allen/Photographer After a tough morning's work, workers flock to food vendors outside the gates of Alpart for a healthy lunch.
Ian Allen/Photographer Kadine Cole says selling cooked meals to Alpart workers benefits everyone.

The reopening of Alumina Partners of Jamaica (Alpart) at Nain in St Elizabeth, has presented opportunities for food vendors on whom the workers rely.

Several vendors set up their portable stalls outside the plant daily, providing cooked meals for both Jamaican and Chinese workers.

Recently, THE STAR visited the area and at noon, generally considered lunchtime, the rush was on to get to the vendors parked outside the facility.

One vendor, Kadine Cole, said she was in her third week and the venture is profitable. She embraces the role to feed the workers.

Cole told THE STAR, "It is good business, both for us and the workers, so they can get a hot meal. I see where I can profit from it. I can maintain my family and can do my little business. All the Chinese dem buy from us and that is very good. Nuff business will uplift."

Cole, who sells food from her car, said she and other vendors bridge the gap and make life easier for potential customers, who would have had to walk into the community for food.

She said, "Each person has his or her customers. At least five different vendors here now selling cooked food." Cole said when the plant was closed, she was working in another parish.

She said, "I was cooking for four years in the St Ann's Bay market, and a private man take over the market and say no cooking in the market."

Cole said she used to leave from St Elizabeth to sell in the market.

"People wanted me to come and sell at the gate, but at the time I was working at a basic school and selling in the market," she said, explaining that her sister now handles the basic school. "So when here open back, I became available to sell here."

Cole is open for business every day as long as the workers need her to supply them.

Cole says her daily routine is 8:30 a.m. for breakfast, 11:30 a.m. for lunch and after she finishes selling, she goes home to prepare for the next day.

She sells fried dumplings, fried chicken, stewed chicken, and ackee and saltfish; the national dish is a favourite among the Chinese. Cole is grateful for the reopening of Alpart because of the commercial opportunities it presents.

"It is very good that the Chinese dem open back the plant and uplift the community. People can find something to lift dem hand do. If you say nothing nah gwan, a you nah try nothing fi something gwan," Cole said.

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