Last week Friday, Mayor Simeon Lopez, the Mayor of Belmopan, met with the Tuesday and Friday Market Vendors at the newly renovated Civic Centre.
The meeting was supposed to be to discuss the way forward on this matter, which has dragged on for almost a year and half. Many vendors criticized the date in which it the meeting was set, since Tuesday and Friday, are the only market days they have to sell. Nonetheless, the meeting saw a full house. According to an interview conducted with the Mayor on Friday September 5th, a feasible payment plan had been negotiated with the vendors. All in all it seemed like a successful meeting.
But when we spoke to the Market Vendors on Tuesday, September 9th, the vendors were of a different opinion. Janice Bain for one, claims the principal purpose of the meeting was to bash her for running to the media.
“I was the principle person that he targeted at that meeting. I’m just a defensive old lady. It’s just trying to save my breadbasket. and keep my food on my table.
He verbally said that he has no date when we would be returning. We’re not sure what he was saying about the costs of the tents, because there were no mikes. We were trying to follow him through this, and it was a little bit impossible.
At one spell we thought the tents were one hundred. We don’t know how or what. Then in the other breath, the tents were free.
Until we can get everything that happened at this meeting in writing, we’re going to just call it a great big press conference [that] the Mayor gave, to bash me because I have been trying to get some media attention on this.”
[Translated] “Nothing was made clear at the meeting. Some people were saying that they were making the matter political. It looked like the Mayor did not like that.
What they said is that we would have another meeting, either next week or within the next 15 days.”
[Paraphrased] “I have been to all of the meetings, and every time I come out of a meeting I come out vexed, because they don’t want to negotiate. When the go into a meeting, they have already set up what their plan is, and they carry bit out.”
As we had reported before, the renovations at the Belmopan Civic Centre are completed with minor details left to finalize. The Tuesday and Friday Market Vendors will soon be relocated to that area.
The Project is funded by the EU and channeled through the Ministry of Works who has the final say.