Crab Circle whistleblower Nadine Francis enduring hard times; vendor yet to return to popular food spot
There is a famous saying that goes: ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. And that sinister piece of inverted morality has now been applied to the life of Nadine Francis, a 48-year-old crab vendor, who was the primary whistleblower in the Crab Circle debacle, and who is now struggling financially because of her supposed ‘good deed’.
Add that financial injury to the insult of her colleagues ostracizing her for her ‘Good Samaritan’ act and you have an equation where Francis is almost at her wit’s end.
“Bwoy it rough. Dem no talk to me said way, and dem still ah talk story back way. Dem still a bun me out said way, ah the Grace of God ah go keep me safe out de when mi go back on the road to sell,” Francis said.
Conventional moral wisdom holds that evil deeds are punished by divine providence and good deeds are rewarded by divine providence, but not so in Ms Francis’ world. Only two months after her ‘good deed’, she is on the brink of desperation as her bills are mounting.
Her 93-year-old father recently died and she hasn’t been able to contribute to the nine-night or the upcoming funeral. She lost her access to cable because she didn’t pay her bill, one of several monthly obligations which she is failing to meet. The mother of three hasn’t returned to the Crab Circle since it reopened two weeks ago because she hasn’t completed her training programme.
“Because of the incident, mi never mek up mi mind to go back because I was afraid, mi no gone back yet, mi a wait on some training,” she said.
The delay has put her in a sticky situation.
“Mi don’t know what is causing the hold up. Mi cable bill cut off, mi have a monthly loan mi a pay…mi no have a dollar and it is so embarrassing and mi just a siddown and a cry…and memba say is the good weh mi did a try fi do,” Francis told Observer Online.
Francis said that her father’s death has made things particularly rough.
“Every minute, family members ah ask : ‘Nadine weh yu have, weh yu have? All when dem know say mi no have nothing. Mi ah get up and cry right through. Mi have to be begging calls or a kotch pon people Wi-Fi, it’s really embarrassing,” she said.
“Three weeks, the man put off put off, say him don’t get enough people to do the training, me and couple others from Heroes Circles who were overseas must come do the training, and he wants to add couple other food vendors to the training and mi need to go pon the road to earn. I am always calling and dem say next week, next week,” she said.
Health officials shut down the crab stalls at Heroes’ Circle in Kingston in the first week of October following a viral video showing controversial vendor Alice Waugh relieving herself at her stall. Francis was the one who shot the video that exposed Waugh who claimed she suffered from a bout of diarrhea and was forced to relieve herself inside her stall.
The Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) and the HEART/NSTA Trust collaborated for the training of 12 vendors in small foods preparation and sales in a five-day training programme. The vendors subsequently received food handler’s permits from the Public Health Department.
In late November, Crab Circle re-opened to the public after being shuttered for weeks. But there was no Alice, and no Nadine.
Even though she hasn’t officially returned to the Crab Circle, Francis doesn’t regret her actions in exposing the “nastiness” around her.
“Part of me regret it, but down inna mi heart, mi no really regret it because ah nastiness that right in front of me, that completely sick me stomach and then her b—y tun to me every day like yu a look up under ass. And then when she done, she throw the bleach and Fabuloso after that round her stall, so much so, till one side of my tights bleach out from how she ah flash it because is a table part we off, and the bleach flash on my tights sometimes and bun it out,” she said.
The irony of Alice Waugh’s actions has not escaped Francis.
“She (Alice) get up every day and cuss say dem nasty out ya, dem nasty, and ah she nasty. God nah sleep,” Francis said.
She still has a fear that there will be some retribution for her whistleblowing actions.
“Even now, mi scared. Yu don’t know who can drive past and do mi nothing, even pon mi Tik Tok (nadinefrancis50), people ah say, ‘Nadine be careful, be careful’, you understand?” Francis said.
“Mi have to go shut mi eye and do mi business. Dem still a fight me, mi get remarks from downtown, it ah rest pon mi mind say hope when mi go town, nobody nuh hurt me, you know dem ways de. Remember yu have to walk up and down to look things, you have to go de so, go yah so,” she added.
Francis remains defiant through it all.
“God have to cover me because mi nah go mek dem mek me no go out go sell,” she said.
– Claude Mills