If you take a look around Belize City, you will notice that there is a lot of infrastructure and projects in place to beautify it.  However as some may say there is a cost to beauty, and some vendors from “Ground Zero”, or the area in front of the Water Taxi Terminal on the Corner of North Front Street and Queen Street say they are feeling the pang, since their booths, most which provide food services, have been relocated to the Battlefield Park.  One of the vendors called the Morning Show on Love FM and said that among many other things, the new location at Battlefield Park is unhealthy.


“It’s very congested and I just want my customers and everyone to know that we are no longer at ground zero.  The place they put us is not healthy for people to sell at; it’s really hard because after five years of being there, they told us BTB was supposed to renovate the place.  I went to BTB and I spoke to Ms. Esquivel and asked her what is the situation and she said she would get back to us.  Since then we haven’t heard anything and they just left us in the air.  We are not going to be at the park permanently, we will be there for three months and then after that we have nowhere to go. It is so hard for us to try to survive because it’s an honest and it’s a hard living.  It’s not fair because of the guys that hang out there and the place is so filthy.”

The Public Relations Manager at the Belize City Council, Kenny Morgan explained that the vendors had been advised since 2009, that Ground Zero was only a temporary location, the same way Battlefield Park is.  He explained the motive for the move


“The reason for the move of the vendors from Ground Zero over to the facility at the Battlefield Park is to facilitate the taking over of the Ground Zero by the person who has been leasing it from the City Council for the past couple of years. In fact, meetings were held with all the vendors from Ground Zero informing them that they would have to relocate.  The project is actually being controlled by the BTB; the project Director, Ms. Christy Maestre had approached us some time ago asking us if there is any way we can get the vendors to relocate in five days time.  We informed them that there is no way we could relocate the vendors in such a short time, there would definitely need to be more time to facilitate the movements of their kiosks and the rearrangements they would have to make for their businesses. I think it is very important that we point out that the vendors who were working at the ground zero location had been informed since 2009 that eventually the project would reach that location and they would have to relocate.  As a matter of fact, the City council for the past two years has only been collecting trade license fees from them and had not been charging them for leasing for use of the location.  That location is actually under control of another individual, who made it clear that they intend to now fence and secure the area so they can utilize it and start charging proper fees for the buses and the vehicles that use the water taxi terminal, which is the original idea.  With regards to the relocation of the vendors, the City Council went above and beyond what was required of us; we provided even a moving service, giving the vendors enough time to seek out other locations and there are vendors who have decided that because they will be relocated to the Battlefield Park for 90 days, that is the designated time that is given to them because the Battlefield Park is  also scheduled for a major upgrade and renovation which will entail major upgrade and renovations which will entail major works happening in that area and there are vendors who decide that as opposed to relocating to the Battlefield Park for the 90 days grace period that is given, they decided not to go there and they found other locations.”

The other problem is that some of the vendors who had been at Battlefield Park are not at peace with their new neighbors.  When Love News visited City Hall, some of them were complaining that the booths were too close to each other; however Morgan said that is something that will be corrected this afternoon.  But not all Battlefield Park vendors share the same sentiment with their new neighbors. Charles Bradley a taco vendor who has been at the location for about four years, says he has no problem at all

BRADLEY (vendor)

I don’t have any problem. Once they set their stall in the correct way, I have no problem.  Right now, the stalls aren’t set properly right now but they will be set the right way, later on this evening.  If we were the ones who had to move over the bridge, they would have had to comply and not complain.”


However since the Ground Zero vendors have to move out in three weeks, Love News asked Morgan if there are any other options left for them, as to where they can go


While the City Council would like to provide opportunities for small businesses to continue to grow, there are limited areas in which we are able to offer such spaces. One such location, already we are in the process of informing the existing vendors at the BTL Park – extensive renovations, already land reclamation have already started so the vendors that are there now, in the very near future will have to be relocated.  We don’t think it would be feasible to recommend that the vendors from ground zero be relocated only to have to be relocated again when that program gets underway.  We are very pleased that some of the vendors have taken the initiative and they have sought out and found their own location.  One young lady says that she does not want to go through the process of relocating and then having to relocate again on a future notice.  The vendors do have a responsibility as well and if they can come up with an adequate location, then the Council will do its best to accommodate them.”

The Public Relations Manager at the Belize City Council, Kenny Morgan