New craftmarket sitting empty

Although Cayman Craftmarket was officially launched on 6 May just days before the election by the previous Government, it has stood empty since.

This is because new Tourism Minister Charles Clifford believes it was opened prematurely. While Mr. Clifford asserted that his Ministry’s intention is for the facility to be made use of, he said he has concerns with regard to the production levels of local art and crafts that will be sold there.

The local artisans who will create and sell the wares at the market are not used to dealing with such high volumes of customers and therefore turnover of produce, said Mr. Clifford.

‘We’re reviewing the situation with the Tourism Attractions Board and we do intend for it to be used.

‘However, what we don’t want is for it to open and the artisans to sell out the first day so we’re trying to work with them on getting their supplies up,’ he said.

The market, which will primarily be a cruise tourist attraction, is located at the junction of Boiler’s Road and South Church Street, a site made available by the Kirkconnell family.

Mr. Clifford pointed out that considering the market’s location – right on the waterfront in George Town – 2,000 to 3,000 cruise passengers could pass through it each day.

‘We could easily open it now and import craft to sell there, but that is not the intention – it’s a local craftmarket,’ he said.

‘We certainly need to work with them (the artisans) to make sure there are adequate levels (of crafts) to meet supply and demand.’

The site will include tents for the display of wares. A building to house public restrooms with offices above has been built at the site. An important feature of the site will be a roundabout to allow buses to drop off passengers and then swing through it and back into George Town again. The area has also been paved and landscaped with trees and benches.

The arts and crafts available at the market will involve a marriage between the indigenous and commercial.

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