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MC&W officials mum on Craft Alive project

The revamped Crafts Alive market is expected to be ready for the next tourist season. Photo: VINO
The entrance of Crafts Alive Village. Photo: VINO
The entrance of Crafts Alive Village. Photo: VINO
The vendors have been occupying tent city for a number of years. Photo: VINO
The vendors have been occupying tent city for a number of years. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Since announcing his grandiose plans on April 2, 2012 for the vendors of “tent city” to be relocated to Craft Alive Village, it has been difficult to get an update from the subject Minister, Hon. Mark Vanterpool.

Hon. Vanterpool had told the vendors, who were crammed into the Moorings Conference Room, that the revitalized Crafts Alive Village will be ready by late August or September and that October would be the test month before the tourist season opens the following month.

At that meeting, he admitted that the project would be “a heavy investment for Government”.

However, attempts to ascertain the status of the project have been fruitless with neither the Minister nor his acting Permanent Secretary returning this news agency’s calls.

Janice Braithwaite-Edwards, Tourism Liaison Officer, who is working closely with the Communications and Works Ministry on the planned expansion of the Crafts Alive market, told Virgin Islands News Online she could not assist since she has not been updated on the project.

The Crafts Alive Village currently consists of four buildings, 23 vending spaces and rest room facilities, however, the revamping of the area would see some five new buildings added, five additions to existing buildings, 39 new vendors’ spaces created, additional rest rooms, an amphitheatre with stage for cultural performances and an exhibition area for fishermen, who would be engaged in displaying how fishes and lobsters are caught among other traditional fishing methods.

Virgin Islands News Online had visited Crafts Alive on April 16, 2012 and spoke with several of the vendors, who have been there since the village was opened in 2001. Wishing to remain anonymous, one vendor had told this news agency that she is sceptical of how the pricing will impact her and others who pay rent for their booths when the tent city vendors arrive.

“I will be honest with you, when tourists come into my booth and I tell them what is the price for an item, most times they don’t buy it because it’s cheaper at the cruiseship pier. That is something that will have to be ironed out before they come here…we will have to get the prices right.”

But another vendor is optimistic that the arrival of her new competitors will up the ante in competitiveness regarding the quality of items being sold and the quality of customer service. “I have already begun to focus more on local artefacts and clothing….I want to have an edge over them.”

From observation, most of the items sold at Crafts Alive are practically the same, which the vendors who spoke to this news agency stated will be a challenge. “So with an additional 39 coming here, it will all boil down to who is selling it the cheapest,” vendor #4 had pointed out.

However, two are of the view that the move is one that was long overdue. “It is an eyesore with all of those stained tents there. So I don’t mind them coming here,” another vendor said with a smile. “The tourists will enjoy the ambience here in Crafts Alive with all the new amenities Government has planned.”

Two tent city vendors had expressed their concern that more than 39 vendors are usually there during the peak season and are worried that some vendors will be left in the cold. “I know the Minister said at the meeting that persons who have been there before, who are licensed to be there will be the first priority…but what about those who are not licensed and depend on this trade for a little income. Now that is the question.”

Former 4th District Representative, Dr. Vincent Scatliffe had also weighed in on the issue and acknowledged that removing the vendors from the cruiseship pier was a wise decision. However, relocating them to Crafts Alive is a bit dicey.

“The health and safety of the tourists and vendors have to be assessed…the quality of product and service will be compromised because of the space allocation. You have to understand that tourists want to experience a comfortable shopping experience,” he had added.

His sentiments were echoed by Courtney deCastro, a talk show host and architect. According to deCastro, the plan for Crafts Alive “could be thought out a little bit more.”

“I mean the traffic will be congested, both human and vehicular. Therefore, space will be critical to the success of the project,” he had further stated.

9 Responses to “MC&W officials mum on Craft Alive project”

  • pwd (24/05/2012, 07:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Here we go again mark with a loan of talk and no action his new name should be the "promise man" or the "can't finish a project man"......
  • broke again (24/05/2012, 07:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr smith done tell he aint got no $$$$$ for this project
  • NDP attack dog (24/05/2012, 08:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    we will hear from him clooser to elections not to worry
  • up town (24/05/2012, 09:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well they got 15 million the vip left for them from the cdb so we not putting up with no more excuses
    • oppose it but spend it (25/05/2012, 06:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You mean the same $15 million they voted against???
  • she the cat mother (24/05/2012, 09:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So you go on people land illegally then you get rewarded by government with a brand new facility...well saw what ah place call BVI
    • son of the soil (24/05/2012, 14:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      its just an island man taking care of a bunch of island people who were squatting
  • in the news (24/05/2012, 16:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mark is mum because he knows that there is not damm project end of story!!!
    • time (24/05/2012, 20:47) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      yea yea they will be mum on a lot more broken promises...give it time

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