The Mayor of Belmopan, Simeon Lopez, recounted the Vendors’ plight when the City Council moved towards a change in the financial regime under which they operated from.
Mayor Simeon Lopez explained the backdrop of that story
Simeon Lopez – Mayor of Belmopan
“Before they left, they were paying ten dollars per day, for a ten by ten space, and twenty dollars per day if they have a twenty by ten space. That’s what they were paying.
They went out, after looking around for various venues, they wanted to rent that parcel of land from Social Security. They put up a lot of regulations and requirements that we had to meet. We couldn’t afford to rent that space from Social Security.
Eventually we spoke with the Ministry of Agriculture, and they said ‘OK. You could use the place free of cost.’ The fee was the same. Only to find out then, some of the sheds that we were using, the Cayo South Producers Association said that those were their properties. So, they had to be paid something for using their properties, because that was for them.
Well, we couldn’t disagree with that, so out of whatever we were paid we had to pay the Cayo South Producers Association.
“So there was no fee increase for the vendors?”
“Oh no. It was the same price.”
However, many Market vendors, some more vocal than others, claimed they were being financial strangled. As we have reported in our previous newscasts the Vendors’ were asked to pay $1,040 a year in advance- which amounts to the same as paying $10 every market day for a year. The vendors made a public outcry, and claimed it was unreasonable.
So the City Council brought it down to a month, depending on the number of Tuesdays and Fridays of that month. But through it all, there were no increases in rent. It is only now, that the Council is preparing to relocate the vendors, that the Council has added some 2 dollars’ worth of rent to the system.
“Now, since we are going to be moving to the new place as well, we are going to add one dollar for garbage collection, one dollar per day, and one dollar for the trade license. So that’s twelve dollars. But if you want to pay for the year, that’s two dollars per week for each one of them. It’s 52 weeks, but if you’re going to pay for the year you pay one hundred dollars. Many people pay one hundred dollars for a trade license, even the little peddler on the street. He pays one hundred dollars for trade license.”
Still the Market Vendors are finding it an issue with this new system being implemented prematurely since they are paying for these benefits they would receive at the new Civic, when they are not physically there. We will have more on this lengthy with the Mayor in our subsequent news cast.