Almost two decades of hard work beneath the hot sun has taken its toll on 43-year old Joyce Crandon, a single mother of three. One would have thought that after all these years, she would bein to relax and let the children, who range between he ages 16 to 24 pitch in. But not for this resilient market vendor who says she still has a passion for selling.
So month after month, week after week, day after day, seven days a week sometimes she makes the trek from her home in Albouystown to the Stabroek Market on foot to tango in the rough and tumble world of small business selling mainly fruits.
The tough years of market life made her immune to the horrors surrounding her at the Stabroek market.
“Boy, If me nah had faith, I woulda leff this place long time now, but meh children woulda punish” she told Caribbean Trakker.
Wednesday January 5 was just an ordinary market day for her- setting up her stall, calling out to her usual customers and other passersby.
But then at around 9:30 the blast went off. It shook the market, sending debris flying in all directions . Many vendors scampered for safety after the loud explosion, those in close promixity to the blast suffered cuts, bruises and puncture wounds.
Ms.Crandon, was lucky to be quite a distance away, when she ran towards a big crowd that gathered. To her horror, she noticed ‘American’, the junkie who perished, after parts of his hands and face were blown off. She said that there were people crying out in pain as they were being taken to the hospital. The blast killed one and injured 19 others.
Business life would not be the same in the days following the attack. Ms.Crandon still has that worried look in her eyes everytime she talks about it. The authorities have closed off a major portion of the market where she once found it profitable to operate. “This moving, moving thing, aint wuking out man. It really stressful, ” she says.
The grenade attack still continue to be the talk at the market as vendors remind themselves of the fatal accident that shook up the entire working force of vendors.
Ms.Crandon says they fear for their safety, in the wake of the attack. “Look son, if all awe freighten to wuk here, who gun feed we, how we gun mek it, we gotto pray to the father to keep we safe when the day come.”
She then asked for an excuse as a customer requested two pounds of banana.before telling of how the Stabroek market has seen the worse of criminals and their illegal activities. She recalled seeing many chain snatchers in operation.
“In broad daylight, these bitches robbing people around here, and you wud see them running away through them stalls and just disappear”.
She says that while some vendors lost their stalls, it is a good thing that part of the area is cleared off, since it used to be a safe haven for the criminals.
It was almost noon when Ms Crandon pulled out a plastic bag containing a burger and took a bite. That was her lunch as she continued her brisk trade.
Despite all the challenges life at the market for Ms,Crandon is one she is proud of.
She wants the authorities to provide better facilities in the area so that she along with her colleagues can work in better conditions since market vending is the only means of income for them. To date, the authorities are still carrying out demolition of what they call illegal structures that have been there for years.
Works Minister Robeson Benn and his team are currently concerned about the security while the livelihood of the market vendors hangs in the balance.
Zaheer Abbass who has been following the developments of the bomb attack at the Stabroek Market