News Item

Handicraft vendors petition for new location

News 6 Apr 2018

The Ni-Vanuatu Handicrafts Association of vendors in Port Vila wants a venue of its own, separate from the central market.

The association, located at the Port Vila Market, has petitioned Vanuatu’s Minister of Internal Affairs, who oversees the Port Vila Municipality, to find another location for them to sell their handicrafts products instead of being crowded at the Port Vila Market with the greens and vegetable vendors.

The petition was made Wednesday during Minister Andrew Napuat and the new Port Vila Municipal Council’s official visit to the Port Vila Market.

After TC Pam in 2015, the handicraft vendors moved into the Port Vila Market as a temporary location to sell their products to the tourists because their handicraft building was totally destroyed by Pam. The building was formerly located at the Sea Front Park where the new Mahitahi Port Vila Handicraft is now located.

Josephine Fred

Ni-Vanuatu Handicrafts Association President, Josephine Fred, said just after TC Pam things have gone well with them; there was enough space at the Port Vila Market because many greens and vegetable vendors didn’t have many products to sell because their farms were all destroyed by Pam. However once the farmers began replanting and were recovered, they began to sell more products.

She said then space became an issue.

“Space was very limited because the handicraft vendors are also using one side of the market, which in the past the whole Port Vila Market was only for greens and vegetables. But when we came in, we took up a lot of space from our colleague vendors,” she said.

“We have seen that our sisters who are selling greens and vegetables need space and when there’s no space some of them have to sell their products outside. We’ve found that this is a disturbance to them.

“We have presented our requests to the government and we are looking forward to seeing the government grant our wish to relocate us to the right location,” she said.

Ms Fred said if the government does not give them any signal during this month (April) they will protest.

“We have made it with a wheel barrow push but this time we will carry our bags and walk along the street to show that we need space. And with this current government we believe it will grant our wish.”

Minister Napuat responded that they will take the association’s petition into consideration and will look at what is good for the vendors and for the market operations as a whole.

Mr Napuat said for example there is a Market House at Sea Side which is always empty, with huge parking space, four toilet facilities and two bathrooms.

“We can relocate some handicraft vendors there and tourists can go there instead of coming here where it is too crowded. When there is no space to walk around, tourists could just walk away. We want a place where people can walk around freely and can decide to buy the vendors’ products,” he said.

Source: The Vanuatu Independent