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Vendors upbeat despite making no profit

The festival village in Road Town was a virtual ghost town when BVI News Online visited yesterday, August 10

By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Journalist

While making it clear that they are not waiting on handouts from Government, vendors at the festival village in Road Town said they have missed out on profits because of the rainfall that this week resulted in flooding as well as cancellation of the remaining Emancipation Festival activities.

“No Government has reached out to us. We don’t think they are going to reach out to us either because they have problems to deal with too. You can see the road and all those things mash up, so the government has their own problem,” said Sylvan, one of three hopeful vendors still at the village.

Sylvan, who helps his sister to run booth number 10, stated that they suffered major losses.

“The [tropical wave] affects us a lot. When it came on Monday, we cooked a lot of food, so we had to dump them in the garbage.”

Sylvan added that things only continued to spiral downwards. “The water came in the shop and destroy a lot of dry food, so we lose a lot over the few days… We make back the money that we paid for the booth – we won’t lie, in about the first five days or so [we made it back]. But it’s the profit we actually lost.”

Another food vendor who goes by the alias Bushman told BVI News Online that he was able re-earn the $1,100 he spent to erect a booth in the festival village.

He however described the venture as a waste.

“I’d still call it a loss because the amount of work we put in… Everything came back even. It’s like I just wasted my time,” said Bushman, who has been selling in the festival village for nearly two decades.

He added, “You can’t stop God work, but it give we a hit. It give we a bad jerk, but you know we are surviving through still.”

Bushman further stated that the biggest loss came from the cancellation of the August Monday parade, which he said is usually the most successful day.

“Boy, we feel bad about it because everybody was looking to see big troupe come in, so we could get to sell a little more food and drinks. Everybody was looking out for the parade day, but that’s life.”

“I’m still doing my little thing because I have a lot of meat in the fridge that I want to cook out. The more I sell is the better, because I’m going to have to give away what’s left when Saturday comes,” added Bushman.

Unlike Bushman and Sylvan, Miss Ruby who runs the ‘Roti Queen’ booth was not as fortunate to make back the money she spent to set up shop in the village.

“The booth costs $1,100 but you had to run around with so much money to pay for the liquor license, pay for this, pay for the trade license and so on.”

“I don’t think they (members of Government) will give us back anything. We done lose, so they can’t do anything about it. It’s not the government’s fault. It’s the rain, so they didn’t have anything to do with it. I didn’t make back my money. I am sorry. It’s the first time I ever loss,” added Miss Ruby, who also has been vending at the village for umpteen years.

She is hopeful that she will ‘get back on her feet’.

Miss Ruby added that she is more heartbroken for persons worst affected by the tropical wave.

“When I see their store, I want to cry. It’s not mine, but I can image. Losing the little profit here doesn’t mean nothing. I’ll get back to my shop and get back on my feet, but look how much they lost. When you think you lost a little bit somebody loss bigger than you,” she further told BVI News Online.

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