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Sweeting denies stall vendor claim of victimisation; reviewing issue


Tribune Staff Reporter

A WOMAN says the government is forcing her to give up her only source of income: her stall at Potter’s Cay Dock.

Karesia Darling, the owner of Island Vibes Restaurant and Bar, says she has been given 14 days to cease operating by the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources. 

She said: “This is how I make my money. This is how I take care of my family. How could you as the ministry say that after 14 days you want me to vacate? Where do you intend for me to go?”  

The ministry assigned Ms Darling stall #21 in 2019, according to a March 12, 2019, letter signed by Permanent Secretary Linda Moxey-Bain.

However, on March 20, 2023, Ms Darling received a letter from the ministry indicating she must return the stall to its original owner, Dwayne Rahming. The letter said she has 14 days to cease operations at the booth.

Ms Darling said she was subleasing from Mr Rahming before she was declared stall owner in 2019.

During a press conference yesterday, Wendi Constantine, president of the Bahamas Dock and Allied Venues Vendors Association (BDAVVA), said the union supports Ms Darling, adding the quarrel is over a “misunderstanding”.

“We do think it’s strange that she’s the only one (being forced to give up their stall), but then again, we’re thinking that somehow that the minister might have gotten some conflicting information as it relates to her story. That’s why we’re trying to get clarity,” she said.  

However, in a statement, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Clay Sweeting denied Ms Darling is being victimised.

“The Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs is not in the business of destroying the livelihood of hard-working Bahamians,” he said. “In relation to stall 21, ministry officials have met with the occupant of the stall and informed her of a legal issue — an issue that has been ongoing over the last three years.”

“Ministry officials have found that due process was not followed in relation to the ownership of the stall. The matter is currently under review and will be referred to the Office of the Attorney General.”