ACKEE VENDORS OF BARBADOS: ENTREPRENEURS OR TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS YET TO HAPPEN?
“Ian Bourne! Why ya don’ buy my F*****G ackees?” Was a charming salutation lobbed at me one day while close to the Bussa Roundabout in Haggatt Hall while heading for my job at that time… Oh sure, I am gonna screech my brakes, pull over, and walk back to the dude – crying that I have not done my part to support small Business? Do I look like I use unorthodox pharmaceuticals? Simplified, NO, I am not buying ackees – especially YOUR F*****G ackees!!
Over the years I have watched variations of this “business” establish itself at various venues – when one turns by Erdiston away from the British High Commission’s “Ben Mar” and sail towards St Winifred’s school at the point where you emerge on the Pine East/West Boulevard there’s a peanut vendor with a Chinese ‘coolie‘ hat, they’re polite and give no issue if you decline.
Others apart from Coconut vendors have also
hijacked taken new spots, like by Deighton Griffith Secondary near Kingsland estate in Christ Church (those coconut vendors are supposed to cart their own shells to the Landfill as the material can damage even Sanitation’s tough compactors – getting those dudes to comply is a next story, thank God some have formed an alliance and sell their water to Big B Supermarkets, which means fewer now on the road), one day after I finished visiting my father – I was waiting to merge back on to the ABC Highway by the school in question, as I was coming to a halt, a vendor stands in front of my car (I was moving slowly since there were gravelly roadworks) and I indicated I did NOT want any ackees…
The response was not good enough, obviously, since the
idiot seller started to try and dig at a sticker I have on my car? Is he MAD? When he saw I braked sharply and my reverse lights came on, he ran from my vehicle… Man, was I vex! I called the Oistins police station and they said they’d send two officers over “to have a chat” – now, what sort of guarantee does that provide for the public you are sworn to Serve & Protect? So in order to avoid persecution, I must buy whether I want to or not? Is this sales or domestic terrorism? Maybe vendors should be forced to attend Dale Carnegie lessons?
I am made to understand that in the Dominican Republic they have a similar trade plying and the sellers behave even worse than Barbados! This does not excuse the vendors here, if anything it shows why they should behave even more so… However, checking with certain sources in Government and otherwise indicate there’s no specific legislation to handle the ackee sellers – if they’re unlicensed is the only way Police can clamp down on them!
There are two by the Garfield Sobers Roundabout, their approach is different – it is two girls usually dressed as close to a bikini as possible… While this is clever, it can lead to more accidents and waylaying a usually free-flowing vein of Bajan traffic which needs only the slightest excuse to clog up to a crawl.
Yes, there is a need especially these days to create one’s own employment, but safety has to be a factor, so how clever is the idea for making money if you cause more problems than you solve? Will Parliament only seek to legislate such vendors when one of their own chauffeurs or family is the victim of an accident caused by such a vendor? The same way traffic lights only got installed in Orange Hill, St James after a horrific accident?