Vendors’ Struggles During Pandemic – Trinidad & Tobago

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Living in a time of Covid-19 has brought with it the stresses of job loss, deaths by the thousands, and positive cases by the tens of thousands. The uncertainty can be overwhelming, yet people must make a living, against the odds. In Downtown Port of Spain, vendors can be seen hawking their wares daily and you wonder whether they make enough money to maintain a decent standard of living.

Last week the Express spoke to vendors, who gave mixed reviews, with some lamenting, “things hard like big stone”, while others said they were just as good as Christmas.

Kendall Brathwaite said, “I am a tradesman. I do painting, carpentry and metal work.” He said that during last year’s stay-at-home measures that began in May, he filed for a relief payment from the Government but did not receive anything. “But now what will I do? Stay home and do nothing?” he asked. “By the grace of God, I will survive,” he said

Well-known nuts man Nyawi Erasto, who has been at the corner of Independence Square and Frederick Street since December 1988, said he was forced to raise his price from $5 per bag to $6.

He said despite this, his sales have remained the same, adding that his prices have remained consistent as they followed the gradual increase in the price of raw nuts, which stood at $160 for a 110-pound bag in the late ’80s to $1,350 for the same 110-pound bag this year. He said his regular customers expected a price increase.

“But it have others who will say they have to stop eating nuts, but they too does come back,” he said, as he flashed a toothy smile.

He said his last price increase was over eight years ago.

Street vendors struggling to survive the pandemic  Trinidad & Tobago Express Newspapers


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Dean Nestor

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