Blind but not protected - Visually impaired vendor feels safe in Coronation Market
Sandra 'Angie' Vassell, a blind vendor at the Coronation Market in downtown Kingston, says she is not concerned for her safety despite a stabbing incident last Saturday that left a visually impaired man admitted to hospital in critical condition.
Vassell, 55, walks almost every corner of the market district daily, seeking sales for the baby wipes, phone cards, key rings and other items which she clutch to her arm.
She told THE WEEKEND STAR that the other vendors in the market look out for her.
"A mi friend dem suh dem look out fi mi. Mi deh all bout from Princess Street to Kings Street," she said as a young man assisted her up a slope in the market.
Vassell said the blind man who was stabbed by another vendor last Saturday is her friend. She told THE WEEKEND STAR that some of the vendors, especially those who drive handcarts, sometimes make it difficult for her to manoeuvre in and around the market.
"Sometime di cart dem all a run pon mi and mi affi cuss di cart man dem but some a dem caah do better cause di car dem block di road suh the cart man dem nuh have no solution. ... but some a di cart man dem nuh have no mercy," she said.
Vassell, who has been blind for nearly 20 years, said that while vending has become part of her life, her daily trek downtown also serves the purpose of allowing her to interact with different persons.
"Mi come out nuh really fi di money ... When mi come out me hear all type of argument and mi laugh cause it keep mi mind that mi no fret on mi situation and on Friday day time mi guh up a society fi di blind guh meet the rest a blind people dem and wi sit and we talk cause when me at home all 5'clock mi gone a mi bed enuh," she said.
Other vendors spoke glowingly of Angie.
" Mi no know how she dweet. She just walk round and sell wid har knick-knacks on her arm ... She is a wonderful woman when you see har," one male vendor told THE WEEKEND STAR.
He said that he knows of three blind vendors who sell in the market. "Nobody no trouble dem, a just duh crazy woman deh weh stab di man," he said.
Clive Mullings, 58, was stabbed by the vendor because he accidentally knocked over a tray of eggs.
"Dem hold har and dem say dem woulda pay fi di egg dem and she still guh round guh stab di man and run gone suh di people just mash up har egg dem ... Around $30,000 worth of eggs," he said.