Vendors are moving back to the Michael Finnegan Market at the West Collet Canal after spending months at the temporary location at the Poundyard compound. The new facilities are likely to be accompanied by increase in rents, but will the price of the fruits and veggies go up? News Five’s Marion Ali went looking for an answer.
Marion Ali, Reporting
If you’re heading to the market for those Christmas veggies and seasonings then your best bet is to head to the old location on West Collet Canal instead of the open space near the Pound Yard Bridge. That’s because the facility is being transferred back to its original location, at the newly named Michael Finnegan Market between the former Novelo’s Bus Terminal and the Roger’s Stadium.
When we reached the temporary market, most of the vendors had already transferred to their new stalls and only the remaining few were dismantling their structures to relocate, as they prepare to get their individual electricity and water supply. Meanwhile, over at the newly refurbished compound, things were looking much more sanitary and properly kept. But to maintain that, it will entail more manpower and that usually translates into higher fees. But some of the vendors say they are hoping that the rent will remain the same and that in turn they will juggle the prices they offer shoppers.
Concepcion Guardado, market vendor
“It’s the same, I won’t raise the prices right now. I want to get more buyers so the prices can remain the same. I want to make my customers happy so the business can make it.”
Maria Hernandez, market vendor
“The prices we can’t raise too much because the people need us and we need the people. And we’re hoping the people will continue to buy. Everything else here is alright.”
“Will your prices be affected by the new charge in rent?”
“No ih nah go affect but this is the part that concerns me. I dah want know that the price weh deh give we stabilize right now. You understand? Fi buy and sell now you noh know weh fi buy and how you’d sell it for and when it’s too expensive now, who wah come and buy it from you? And you have to sell it at a rate weh you cud cover the rent.”
Raymond Santiago, Butcher, Michael Finnegan Market
“People di buy more now right now cause di price drop down.”
“So your prices actually reduced?”
“Yeah my price drop down. Most Belizean people noh really got dah money fi really come in and seh ah want buy wah good amount and thing you know. Only like special cuts dah more, lower cuts it’s less.”
“Ok, so over deh if I cudda mi buy wah pound of onions fi two dollars, how much ih wah be now?”
Jose Velasquez, Market Vendor
“We used to sell one fifty, right yah dah two dollars.”
“Soh ih gone up by fifty cents.”
“Fifty cents yeah.”
“People di buy fi di Christmas?”
“Yeah, ih di buy, ih di buy, thank God ih di buy, so I could get the money fi pay the rent.”
We won’t know if the rent will in fact be increased because while we did see the Mayor, Zenaida Moya Flowers and businessman Arun Hotchandani, from whom the City Council rented the space for the permanent market, she could not give us an interview until the Government’s ban against Channel Five has been officially lifted. Marion Ali for News Five.
The vendors are already saying that they can’t support an increase.