While Blue Bubbles PA Rental and Events Supplies Co. has denied removing tents while they were being used by vendors at the national stadium, The Grenadian Voice was informed that the tents removed from over the heads of vendors belong to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Efforts on Thursday to reach the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Elvis Morain, proved futile. His secretary conveyed to our reporter that the PS was engaged in a meeting and requested that we leave a message. This newspaper then sent the following questions to the PS via WhatsApp:
-Was it the Ministry of Agriculture tents that were removed from the stadium? If yes, why were they removed, and while being used by the vendors?
-If it’s not your ministry’s tents and Blue Bubbles’ claim it didn’t remove the tents from over the vendors, then who did?
– The tents that were removed, who do they belong to?
The PS responded on Friday morning saying “…I prefer to not comment on this issue. Trust that you understand.”
On Monday morning, vendors at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium car park noticed that some of the tents, tables, chairs and other amenities they had been using the past months were removed from the area apparently the day prior and while they vend, tents were removed from over their heads.
The vendors alleged that the tents removed belonged to the Ministry of Agriculture and Blue Bubbles.
The vendors conveyed disappointment to this newspaper that a green and white stripe tent allegedly belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture was among the first attempts made to remove. They feel that if all other tents had to be removed, that tent should have been the one to remain, the one that taxpayers’ monies paid for.
The vendors said this tent was relocated from its original position when workers from Waggy T Rental and Sounds Co. came on Monday evening to replace the tents that were removed. By Friday, this tent was removed from the car park, allegedly the ministry.
Minister of Infrastructure and Implementation, Senator Norland Cox on Tuesday accused Blue Bubbles of attempting to embarrass the government by removing tents while vendors were using them because he was unhappy that government was not going to renew the service contract, which expired January 16, 2021.
Consequently, on Wednesday, Blue Bubbles in a statement informed the general public that “our organisation was not involved in the widely reported incident on January 18 at the Farmers Market, which allegedly included the removal of tents being used by the farmers.
The Management of Blue Bubbles continues to work closely with the Ministry of Infrastructure Development to provide services to support our nation’s farmers at the said location.”
Owner of Blue Bubbles, Leon Francis, explained to this newspaper that while the original contract ended on January 16, 2021, his company entered a new contract with the Ministry of Infrastructure to provide same services from January 22 to April 30, 2021.
He said on the day of the incident, his workers took down his tents and serviced them onsite, noting that those tents were not occupied by vendors. Francis added that Blue Bubbles did not remove any tent from over the heads of vendors.
The entrepreneur said under the new contract less tents are required at the stadium; hence a few were removed on Monday but reiterated that they were not occupied by vendors. He explained that his five tents erected on the sea side of the stadium, are mainly to be occupied by the influx of vendors who vend on Fridays and Saturdays.
When asked if he is concerned that this incident can have negative impact on his business’ reputation, Francis admitted that he is concerned and hinted that a subsequent release may be issued as the investigation continues into this matter.
He noted however that his company has had a good working relationship with the ministry for the past five years.
Nonetheless, one vendor who wish not to be named, shared with this newspaper that the Blue Bubbles team did attempt to remove tents while they were using them on Monday. However, because they refused to remove their items from off the tables the workers moved to removing tents erected on the sea side. According to the vendor, the two Blue Bubbles tent, which were located at the main entrance to the car park, were removed later on to allow workers of Waggy T to erect their tents at the same location.
The vendors claim that they are not getting the workers mixed up as they are familiar with the Blue Bubble team as they have been frequenting the location over the past months to service their tents.
This newspaper has been informed that Blue Bubbles has planned a media conference for later today.