RECALIBRATING: Govt to undertake 6-year review of Straw Market operations before allowing it to reopen

RECALIBRATING: Govt to undertake 6-year review of Straw Market operations before allowing it to reopen

Deloitte and Touche to conduct review

Rolle: Govt looking forward to announcing Straw Market reopening date “very soon”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government has undertaken an operational review of the Straw Market from July 1, 2015, to June 30 of this year, according to Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works Bacchus Rolle.

Bacchus Rolle.

Rolle, the South Beach MP, told Parliament yesterday that Mark Munnings of Deloitte and Touche will conduct the review. 

“This operational rein will provide the Straw Market Authority with an assessment of the current operating procedure and advice as to the necessary operational changes that should be implemented,” said Rolle.

“While we are just as anxious as the straw vendors, the straw business persons and their families to see the market reopen, every effort to do so will be and must be done to ensure there is a safe environment for vendors and visitors alike.”

Rolle said the government is looking forward to announcing a date very soon for the reopening of all straw markets.

“The global pandemic resulted in the closure of the Straw Market effective March 20, 2020,” said Rolle.

“At that time, the daily rent of $5 plus VAT (value-added tax) was suspended indefinitely. The payment of annual registration fees for vendors and helpers for 2021 was also waived.

“All straw markets — being Fort Charlotte, Fort Fincastle, Cable Beach, Paradise Island and Bay Street — have now been closed for a total of 19 months, which equates to almost 500 Bahamians having been furloughed.

“During the 19-month closure, in an effort to provide vendor assistance, the Straw Market Authority has distributed food vouchers valued at a $100 to all registered vendors in November 2020, and again in March of 2021, the authority provided 450 vouchers to all of the 2020 registered vendors.

“Total vendor assistance for this initiative was $67,305.

“In addition, the Straw Market Authority has completed a number of maintenance and repair projects during its closure, repair to vendor stalls, painting of interior walls, termite extermination at all markets and bathroom repairs at the Cable Beach and Paradise Island markets.”