Construction work at Crafts Alive Village on August 16, 2012.
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool has pushed back against criticisms from some vendors about the ongoing enhancement project at Crafts Alive Village, appealing for patience as Government goes the extra mile to accommodate them.
"I think it would be useful for the vendors to wait until the project is completed and see how well it will function," Minister Vanterpool told BVI Platinum News.
Some vendors had spoken to BVI Platinum News under the condition that their names would not be published. The vendors indicated that they had taken some of their concerns to a meeting with Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. D. Orlando Smith.
Minister Vanterpool stated that the meeting with the Premier was primarily to deal with letters which were served on some vendors at Crafts Alive Village about outstanding rent.
"From what the Premier told me, the meeting with him was in order. The Premier is the Minister responsible for finance. Trade Division comes under finance; and Trade Division is responsible for collecting rent. There was a notice through the Premier´s Office to the vendors who have been in Crafts Alive about their arrears and from what I gather from the Premier that was the topic of the meeting."
He added,"So it was in order for them to go to the Premier and I have no problem with that. If they had other issues and discussed it with the Premier, they were in order to discuss it with the Premier after all he is responsible for the entire country."
Minister Vanterpool said not all the vendors received letters about arrears because there are those who have been paying and paying up-to-date.
The Minister stated that the vendors who occupy the area adjacent to the cruise pier have not shared any concerns with him about relocating to the renovated village.
He pointed out that he recently met with the President of the Cruise Pier Vendors Association, Evedne Martin who represents some 21 of the vendors who sell at the pier.
"She came to thank us for what we were doing and wanted to get an update as to when the project will be completed and to ensure that they would be getting into the spaces. I told her [Martin] we would be meeting with them shortly for them to discuss with the Trade Division all of the conditions,´ Minister Vanterpool pointed.
Minister Vanterpool pointed out that works at Crafts Alive are progressing as planned and hopefully will be completed by the end of September. He said there plans to add landscaping and some walkways which will make it a very nice village.
Asked about the vendors being fearful of discussing their issues with him, Minister Vanterpool said he remains open to listen to all of their concerns.
"I think we have bent over our backs to try to help the vendors; both sides and if they have issues out there that they have concerns about I hope they can feel free to come and talk to us so that we can help to resolve it. We have gone the mile to try to help to accommodate the vendors and hopefully they will enjoy what we are providing for them," the Minister stated.
One of the concerns raised by the vendors is the length of closure of the Crafts Alive village for the months of August, September and parts of October. The Minister said that the vendors were informed about the dates.
"We regret that, we would like to ensure that they could make their money as quickly as they can. What we have done when we met with all of the vendors we informed them that we expect that the construction will take place during the months of July, August and September and those are the months that we are currently under construction. We expect that at the end of September the project is completed and hopefully by early October they will be able to move back in and we can test how it operates," the Minister pointed out.
He added that vendors will enjoy the new Crafts Alive Village which will be a very good place to do their business. The Minister said the intention is to do everything possible to create linkage to the cruise pier and other areas in Road Town so visitors can frequent; and shop along Main Street and other places.
Rent & Management
New buildings under construction at the Crafts Alive Village.
Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
As it relates to the rent structure, the Minister said that this will be done through the Trade Department.
"There will be rents and the vendors will be expected to pay rents and they will be a management system in place that we will have to work with. I don´t know if later on we will take it under a different umbrella in terms of the management of the area. Our intention is to set up a management system."
He further explained, "I don´t know what it will be yet in terms of how the Crafts Alive Village is managed. There will be a manager of the village to ensure that the rules are followed and rents are collected."
It is Government's intention to turn the village into a central vending market. The project includes five new additional buildings and 39 more vending spaces. Currently, Crafts Alive has 14 buildings, 23 vendor spaces and restroom facilities.