No boom for 'Dream' vendors
A section of the crowd attending one of the parties of the Dream Weekend. (Photo: Observer file)

NEGRIL Westmoreland — Vendors at the recently concluded Dream Weekend in Negril are lamenting that business was not like it was in previous stagings.

One even blamed the relocation of vendors 150 feet from the entrance of the venue for partly contributing to this year's downturn in sales.

"Si weh dem put wi eena ah? Bush! Nuhbody nuh really a come dung yah suh yet mi haffi pay how much thousand dalla fi spot, plus solid waste an' mi haffi look 'bout vending licence an' everything. Ah whole lot ah money spent an' yet yuh cyaan make back none," complained a vendor who gave her name as Sashalee.

"Mi waan fi dem jus' leave wi mek wi sell where wi want to sell because wi ah pay wi money," she continued.

That decision was facilitated by the Negril Chamber of Commerce with Dream Weekend organisers, the police, Negril/Green Island Area Local Planning Authority (NGIALPA), the Hanover and Westmoreland municipal corporations, and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) in mid-July.

Sheneka Stewart, another vendor who has been plying her food at Dream Weekend for the past nine years, said the sales come from the locals.

"The poorer people like from the ghetto and the rural areas, they are the ones who come out and support wi. So from wi nuh si the rural people dem, wi lose," Stewart told the Jamaica Observer.

Melbourne Stephens, a pan chicken vendor from Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland, noted that while sales were slow this year, he was happy to be out of what he calls "house arrest".

In a previous interview, Richard Wallace — president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce — said hoteliers in the region were benefiting from higher occupancy levels due to the party series.

"It is a welcomed time of year for most people in Negril and hoteliers. I know for the all-inclusive hotels, a lot of them are booked, especially the smaller hotels as well, the smaller establishments like, you know, are the villas and guest houses," said Wallace.

The four-day Dream Weekend party series ran from July 29 – August 1, 2022. Acts performing on the series included Ding Dong, Spice, and Govana.

Vendor Sheneka Stewart
Sashalee serving soup to customer Kareen. (Photos: Anthony Lewis)
Jerk chicken vendor Melbourne Stephens
BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer writer

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