A jelly man's quest to beat the agony of weekend curfew
Vendor Orando Brown standing beside his minivan laden with jellycoconuts on Kendal Road in Mandeville. (Photos: Kasey Williams)

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Like many other low-income earners, Orandy Brown is worried about how he will support his family amid tighter restrictions including three-successive weekend lockdowns imposed by the Government to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Brown lost his landscaping job during the onset of the novel coronavirus last year and had only recently seen hope of making a profit by selling jelly coconuts from his minivan in Mandeville. When the Jamaica Observer caught up with him last Monday, he also had green bananas on display.

“I just started it two weeks ago…,” Brown said of his vending enterprise.

“I lost my job [as] I used to work with a landscaping company, but because of the COVID, people cut back on spending (adversely affecting the landscaping business),” he told the Sunday Observer.

Like many other Jamaicans who have lost wage-earning jobs because of the pandemic, Brown now lives off earnings made each day from his informal business. He believes the Government should pay greater attention to the needs of people like him when decisions are taken.

“Consider the little man some more. Consider the little people dem some more, that would be my word of advice,” Brown said in response to the Government's curfew measures.

He said the weekend lockdowns will cause significant cutback in his earnings since the time available to sell coconuts has been drastically reduced.

The new measures mean that this weekend, Brown will only be allowed to sell up to midday on Saturday and not at all on Sunday. On the Easter weekend, he will have to shut down his business on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. “Basically, it a guh affect mi in a negative way, because I [will] have the stuff (produce) put down and you know it can spoil after certain time depending on how long I have them, like even all the green bananas, they aren't ripening bananas, so people won't buy it,” he said

“It will be a great cutback especially where earning is concerned. I am the only breadwinner in my family… It will definitely cause a cutback because of the no movement. If I come out for the few hours before noon [on specific days], I guess I won't be seeing people, because not many people are going to be travelling. I will just have to stay home,” he added.

When asked what additional strategies he was considering for the next three weeks, Brown said he had not yet determined his next move.

“I haven't thought of anything yet, but I just have to observe protocol, even though it is affecting me in a negative way,” he said.

Brown, who has a four-year-old daughter, told the Sunday Observer that on a regular basis he has to drive from Mandeville to Ewarton, St Catherine to source jelly coconuts.

“I have to pay someone to pick the coconuts and I have to buy it from the [farmer] plus I have to buy gas. I have to spend a whole day over there,” he said.

BY KASEY WILLIAMS Staff reporter kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

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