The Straw Vendors Will Not Be Discriminated Against!



It seems to me that the Ingraham’s Administration has a serious issue with the Straw Vendors. The Straw Vendors are being asked to obtain their business license and ensure that their National Insurance contribution is current in order for them to receive a stall in the newly built Straw Market on Bay Street. Since when this became a pre-requisite to relocate an established business to a new premises?

Why is there a different demand placed on the Straw Vendors? A demand that is not common practice to “relocate” to a  new space.  Please stop discriminating against the Straw Vendors. I see this action on behalf of this Administration as a deliberate act of abuse. It seems to be a hidden motive to this latest move by this Administration.

Moreover, we are wondering if this demand to pay national insurance is constitutional. I just viewed on an international televised station where the United States has implemented a health care law which is a mandatory national health plan but it was ruled by a Federal Court that it was unconstitutional for the government to force the people to be contributors. We recognized that our laws are passed and hardly challenged.

It just seems as though the drama continues against this innocent group of people who really only want to make a living, feed their families and meet their financial obligations. It is not their intention to be a burden on the Government. But if they are not defended, ultimately, our unemployment rate would increase.

It is heart wrenching to see even the seniors of the Straw Market endure all this chaos. They are the people who helped to build the industry we enjoy today called the Straw Industry, a phenomenal Tourism product. In addition, the Straw Vendors gave the Government the opportunity to build a Straw Market.

In conclusion, we are calling on the Government to review this matter and consider the people that are involved. Justice and fair play are crying IN the streets!!!

We are asking this Administration to give the Straw Vendors a peaceful, transparent and fair transition (relocation) that other businesses enjoy if they have the need to relocate.

Rev. Esther Dawkins-Thompson

Straw Business Persons Society


  1. We really get “SOME” of these Straw Vendors spoil.
    Can you imagine building you sweetheart a house, not just any house but a beautiful house in the heart of the city, overlooking the ocean?
    She know you build the house for her but she then says, to her friends in your face “BOY I AN IN TO YOU”


    • I am not a Papa supporter, I am a independent voter. When it comes to some of these ungrateful straw market folks, truth must be told! I read your whole response and you aint make no GAT DAMN sense to this topic.. get a life,and learn to speak on the TOPIC.

  3. By the way REV. Ester Thompson (President) this is not a holy or christian move, this more like teach the people to not render what’s due to ceasear (govt/people) instead rob them. Read ya Bible! As you preach I ask of you to live by it also!!

    Matthew 22:21

    Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

    Preach, Preacher!!!

  4. You guys are truly UNGRATEFUL! 2001 Straw Market burn down yinner people got cheques from the govt to cover ya burnt items and plus lil sumtin every week to help ya. Ya gone NY to by FAKE ***** get locked up, embarassed we country by making headlines cost da govt and tax payers extra money to get yinna FREE hoping you would lean ya lession. Also ya get NEW straw (PALACE) Market where we da Bahamian people footing da bill so u can enjoy luxury in dese hard times while da rest of us catching HELL! Nah dey tell ya it’s time to pay N.I.B just like da rest of we and YOU want cry out you believe you are being DISCRIMINATED?!?!?! GET YINNER ACT TOGETHER AND BE THANKFUL OK! IF I PAYING N.I.B LIKE DA MAJOURITY OF THE PEOPLE WHY CAN’T YOU??????? STOP TALKING ISH IN MY HEAD!

  5. This woman brazen and gat the gall to sign her name as a REV,(A SPECIAL SPOT IN HELL RESERVE FOR THEM)

    When they turn 65 they will be present at N.I.B looking for a cheque. This has nothing to do with politics. PAY YOUR N.I.B and get a business license. Those are not Hubert Ingraham’s or the F.N.M rules, It is the law!!

    I give them 90 days after they move to have the new market smelling pissy and filled with rats, cockroaches and garbage.

    Rev. Thompson render to Caeser what is Caeser’s and go pay N.I.B.

  6. The Straw Market is a piece of Commercial real estate. The Government entity in charge of it is simply the land lord. Landlords at the Mall at Marathon, Town Center Mall or even Bay St. do not require their tenants to have there NIB contributions up to date. So why the double standard. Do we have to privatize the Straw Market too. Separate Government entities need to know their role The vendors have a valid point.
    NIB has a process to collect overdue payments. If NIB wants to take action to collect over due payments let them do it on there own. Then they can justify why they are hell bent on collecting from the straw vendors before Bus drivers Taxi drivers Contractors Custom Brokers Fisherman and Doctors Hospital.

    • @ Gadget
      I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, and neither do you. These ungrateful buggers are running businesses and as such should be paying rent; license fees and national insurance. Who the hell do they think they are that they can get free space down town selling a bunch of s*** to the tourists when persons have to shell out thousands of dollars every month for space down town. Others have to pay license fees and national insurance for every worker. These people want a free ride @5 on the backs of the Bahamian ppl. It’s my money that went to build that straw market and I applaud the government for making those vendors accountable and ensuring that they are not fleecing off of us, from here on. In addition they better not bring any of that counterfit sh** into our new place and the powers that be better ensure there are no Hatians; Jamacians; Cubans; or Africans working in our new market!!

      • @ Do_c
        I stated facts yet and came to the opinion that the vendors have a point.
        You choose to lower the debate to the point of name calling and your myopic personal opinions.
        In my opinion they should pay NIB and the relevant agencies every dime that they owe.
        However the facts remain that it is a discriminatory to hold straw vendors to a higher standard than all other commercial tenants in the Bahamas.
        If every tenant in the commonwealth is required by law to produce proof that their NIB contribution is up to date prior lease signing then fine.
        But if Straw Vendors in Freeport are not required to do so Fish Vendors at the fish fry and Potter’s Cay are not required to do so. You expect those hundreds of vendors to be Silent.
        It some how upsets you that the express their views via the media. You sound like you have a problem with the lower class of this nation. You refer to “them” fleecing off of your “group” that can afford to pay thousands for space down town. Some how it escapes you that you are no better than them and they also contribute to this society.
        I believe that the first part of your post is right “You do not know what the hell I am talking about,” But that is because you have never been where I have been!

  7. It is some of the fundamental things like not paying NIB that explains lawlessness in our country today. We rationalize too much about what is a big/small crime. Wrong is wrong and although I am not a supporter of the FNM administration, they can flex their muscles as much as they like as long as they are within constitutional and legal parameters. I have already paid enough for these straw vendors who don’t follow the law from this NYC counterfeit bag case; and I don’t want to hear any foolishness about “they sell it because the government has not stopped them”. I mean is selling it wrong? To much delegated and ignored responsibility up in this place, we need to get with it HASTE!

  8. I think they should be treated NO different. Everyone MUST pay national insurance to reap benefits when the time comes. Imagine if the whole bahama land acted like straw vendors and avoid paying? the fund will be broke and no one would be able to receive benefits. I feel for the vendors somewhat as the industry is slow and under more scrutiny after the fake goods came to light. But come on the good times been rolling in the past, if you even had some conscience you would have went to NIB from 2002 to work out a payment plan to become and stay current. Its not like NIB over charging them its only the bills piling up which you knew you had to pay some day. Then yall want to be proud and move into the multi million dollar complex, AND PAY NO RENT EITHER. and dirty up the place and have it smelling RANK and laden with rodents like the old straw market before it burn down. We have to do things with order and be professional, remember tourist are noticing the way we carry on. IF YALL ARE REALLY GOD FEARING PPL YALL WOULD NOT HAVE AVOIDED NIB AND NOT PAY even a cent FOR OVER A DECADE.

    • RR, I thought I was the Bahamas Lone Ranger on this one. I totally agree! Just checking you on one thing, that NIB is more thank 5 cents, it like $60(something) nah, LOL!

  9. OMG! Did this person read what she wrote? “It is not their intention to be a burden to the Government?” So why they sat there all those years waiting for the government to build them a new market? Look at where (that nasty tent area)they are now…if that is any indication, then within 5 years the new market will also be a dump! “….gave the government the opportunity to build the Straw Market?” The GOVERNMENT (OUR tax dollars) is providing them a place to operate their business at minimal cost! Before they occupy OUR (Bahamian people) Straw Market they should be in full compliance with OUR laws! They are not being discriminated against because they have to prove their NIB contributions are up to date. Every year before a business license is renewed it must be proven that NIB contributions are up to date!
    Rev. I suggest you read your Bible…render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s! It really annoys me how Bahamians expect the Government to run the country like one big Social Service Department! Where the hell these people think the funds come from?

  10. I remeber that after the straw market fire in 2001 many vendors who were registered were asked to comply with NIB regulations in order to obtain benefits.Am apalled that the Inspectors at NIB have not ensured that they continued to comply with this stipulation.Heads must roll at NIB for not insisting that the straw vendors paid weekly contributions.What is the reason for having Inspectors if they are not doing the jobs for which all contributors to NIB pay them?

  11. If you do not stop talking boungy. You are operating a business, and a requirement of operating a business is to have a business license and whether you are an employee or self employed, you are required to to make national insurance contributions. Now I know the law is not something some of the straw vendors are familiar with, as you continue to sell illegal goods, but my tax money will not be going to subsidize your illegal business and you should be required to obey the law that ALL other Bahamians must. (then again most of you are not Bahamians).. NUFF SAID

  12. What a sad, sad letter. One sentence:”In addition, the Straw Vendors gave the Government the opportunity to build a Straw Market” says it all about our people’s sense of entitlement.

    All the other foolishness in the Rev’s letter pales in comparison.

    Time to go to church.

  13. I agree everydody must pay National insurace, is everyboby paying it ? NO, the government knows that.This is an attempt to push some of the people out of the straw market to make space for some of their cronies. I say shame on this lousy government again. Allow the Vendors to relocate to the New straw market and see that they come current !

  14. i dont see this as a political move bp, they should be made to bring there national insurance payments up to date just like everyone else who pays this tax. I pay 67 dollars per month for national insurance so they should be made to pay as well. I believe it is the law and should be enforced. These persons for the most part are lawless andexpect to get an old age pention. politicians (PERRY DEM) see this matter as a political tool.. ITS WRONG MAKE THEM PAY!

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