Vendors say SIDS4 Cultural Village was a flop on first day, while sources claim lunchtime was chaos

Vendors and artisans plying their trade at the fourth international Small
Island Developing States (SIDS) conference are disappointed that they were
unable to earn any significant sums of money on the opening day of the event,
Monday May 27.
According to reports, the “Cultural Village,” located in the vicinity of the Free
Trade and Processing Zone, had about 21 persons plying their trade, including
10 food vendors and 11 arts and crafts professionals.
A female vendor tells REAL News that the majority of those set up in the
Cultural Village made no money – in particular, the artisans, none of whom
received a single sale for the day.
She says the food vendors who might have gotten minor sales still ended up
losing, as the food they prepared would have had to be discarded, since there
was no patronage from the conference attendees.

She explains that the sales made came from persons who happened to be in
the area for other purposes and realized that food was being sold.
Those inside the Cultural Village had to be on location from about 10 a.m., and
many reportedly stayed until 6 p.m. in an attempt to make a sale.
Gilbert Laudat is the coordinator of the Cultural Village. Reportedly, he told
the vendors that he had asked for the Cultural Village to be promoted, so that
delegates could patronize the vendors after the day’s event.
Meanwhile, the vendor reports that the Halcyon Steel Orchestra also formed
part of the Cultural Village’s attractions and arrived at about 4:30 p.m.
However, she says that after about 45 minutes of the band members playing
for themselves and the vendors, they decided to leave sometime after 5 p.m.
The entrepreneur believes that more could have been done to publicize the
Village in order to maximize the “financial trickle-down.” And she is
disheartened that the entire day spent at the venue yielded practically

Another thing she finds baffling, she says, is that the conference area has been
split into two zones: red and blue. However, she says that those designated in
the red zone cannot enter the blue zone and vice versa.
Meanwhile, another source claims that it was chaos during the luncheon
period, with packed lines of delegates attempting to get a meal.
Apparently, the event is being catered by a local company, whose staff
allegedly appeared to be overwhelmed.

Reportedly, because the wait time was exceedingly long, some delegates were
forced to buy their own lunch, either from the American University of Antigua
canteen or a Subway restaurant in the area.
It is also alleged that a local online service had to be called to deliver food to
the venue, while other attendees went to offsite locations, including an eatery
in Hodges Bay.
A source says that a volunteer had to take 11 French delegates to have lunch
at a restaurant in the Jabberwock area.
In spite of the disappointment, the vendor says she will return to the Cultural
Village today, Tuesday, May 28, with optimism, hoping that it will be
advertised properly.
The SIDS4 conference runs until May 30.