- Kingston Craft Market vendors want piece of the pie
T his t ime of the year is normally busy for craft vendors. But those in the Kingston Craft Market, located on Ocean Boulevard say they have been struggling to get sales.
"This is supposed to be one of our busiest times, and look around, where's the tourists? You not seeing anybody, you see how the vendors just sit down? This is one of the biggest challenges we have down here. We don't have enough people coming in and out of the craft market, families are not being fed!" Karol Stubbs-Jamieson, president of the Kingston Craft Market told The STAR.
Stubbs-Jamieson, who learnt the craft market business from her mother, who was also a craft vendor, has been vending craft for more than 20 years and believes that there is a lot more that can be done by the government entities such as the Jamaica Tourist Board and other 'big players' in the tourism industry to help craft vendors.
"I think they can throw us a bone now man. Every Tuesday night they send bus to Kingston night market and all those newly developed places, Bob Marley Museum, Devon House, and all those other places uptown, you can't be looking out for your friends and not the little people dem. When one and two people come in here in the week, they can't buy from everybody so some people still end up get lef," Stubbs-Jamieson said.
Of the impression that the shortage of business is caused by the lack of exposure, Stubbs-Jamieson insists that these entities can do more to endorse the craft market and make tourists more aware of their business by rerouting tourist buses to their location.
"Sometimes people come in here two and three weeks, even a month, and not earning, and it is very sad. Remember these are business people who sometimes even take out loans to invest in their business and they expect to be earning. They have children to send to school, bills to pay and I see where it can be helped, " Stubbs-Jamieson said.
"If they can send buses to all those places every Tuesday night, good God man, send one come down here nuh, so that we can see likkle business. Even if you sit down here and you see people come and you don't sell anything, you still feel better than when you don't see anybody because you feel like something is happening," she continued.
Stubbs-Jamieson, however, is not giving up hope that life will be restored to the once vibrant and bustling market. With new developments in the downtown Kingston area, along with a number or cruise tours to enter Kingston come January, the vendors are looking forward to the surge of potential business that these activities will bring.
"I would hope that if the Government is intentional in their planning, tourists will be directed to us. I have seen cases where tourists come to Ochi and Falmouth and the people line up fighting to go into the Indian store instead of going to the authentic craft market. Why they not looking out for native Jamaicans?" she said.
"Come on Government, what about our little black people? What about the people that are paying you the tax? Even if it's to just send two buses come down here, we would feel better because, at least, we would have something to look forward to. We need some sort of recognition, some sort of exposure, something."