BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- ALLEGED unfair competition by Indian business owners on Port Zante is not sitting well with vendors at the Amina Craft Market.
The vendors are claiming that these business owners would discourage tourists from shopping at their stalls by making false accusations.
Speaking recently with SKNVibes Business, several craft vendors stated their displeasure over the situation.
One vendor, who has been plying her trade at the site for over two years, stated that it is disheartening to see what is going on between the large business owners and her fellow craft makers.
“You see what is happening to us local vendors is that we are getting unfair competition from the Indian businesses. When they first came to St. Kitts to establish their business, they went around to almost every craft vendor to make price-checks. And in so doing, they have been selling similar or the same items that we make at a significantly reduced price.”
This alleged business strategy has however left a bitter taste in the mouths of the craft vendors and large hole in their pockets, as they claimed that the overhead cost of making the items has restricted them from selling at the same price as the Indian businesses.
The vendor informed that while some of the material required to make some particular items could be purchased locally, they would have to travel overseas to source others.
Reiterating that there is no level playfied, the vendor said: “If we selling the same things as the Indian businesses, tourists would go and buy from them because they are more expensive on the local market. As I said earlier, one of the things they did when they first came to St. Kitts, is that they looked at what we were selling and they subsequently imported the same products. So, there is no real competition from us…we cannot compete with them.
Another craft vendor angrily stated that she was informed that some of the large businesses on Port Zante have been advising tourists not to purchase craft items from them.
“Well, one cruise tourist told me this…she said that an Indian businessman told her not to go beyond the steps that lead to the Amina Craft Market because it would be at her own risk.”
And another vendor confirmed what the former said, noting that “this has been a long standing problem that we have to deal with it everyday”.
“I mean the Indians would tell the tourists that’s town, there is nothing else to see beyond that point. But they do have dedicated people who would go beyond and come and check us out, because they know that there is supposed to be a local market.”