Tourism board clamps down on craft market

| 15/01/2012

cruising-grand-cayman-028L.jpg(CNS): Reports of improper conduct by vendors, poor customer service and the sale of unauthorised products at the Cayman craft market has led to the Tourism Attraction Board instigating a new set of rules. The code of conduct prohibits the use of profane or threatening language or behaviour at the market and addresses basic service standards that vendors should provide to all customers, the board said. It also reinforces the kinds of art and craft items and that can be sold at the market. In view of the Department of Tourism’s marketing campaign, Gilbert Connolly the CEO of TAB said vendors had to ensure that all visitors to the market enjoyed a courteous, pleasant, beneficial and ‘Caymankind’ experience.

Although the TAB officials were not specific about the complaints or the vendors that had been complained about all licensed stall holders will be required to sign the document and agreed to be bound by the new rules which have arisen as a result of what were described as “persistent issues at the market.”

The vendors at the Cayman Craft Market on Boilers Road, located in downtown George Town were presented with the revised and updated ‘Code of Conduct’ last week by the board’s chief executive officer and Jeán-Eric Smith, the craft market manager at a special meeting. The document is designed to regulate the conduct of business at the market, how stall holders behave and what can be sold at the location the officials said.

“The Board was committed to maintaining the mission and integrity of the market, as a truly Caymanian enterprise that provides visitors with authentic representations of local art, culture and heritage,” Connolly said in a release about the meeting.

He said that the vendors are representatives of the Cayman Islands tourism industry and must conduct themselves as such but he said the code was also there to protect the licensed stall holders rights as well as guidelines on how to behave.

Smith said he welcomed the code as he said it reflected the growth of the Craft Market. “Hopefully, this kind of entrepreneurial tourism initiative will be more passionately embraced by Caymanian artisans as a means of showcasing and selling their creations,” he said.

Ivolyn Thomas, who operates Ivy’s Cayman Treats at the market for the past five years, said she was behind the code 100 percent because of the impact the vendors can have.

“The vendors here at the Craft Market are some of the first people that cruise tourists meet in the Cayman Islands and the first impression is very important. This is not only our business; it’s the country’s tourism and if we do not conduct ourselves properly, we lose and the country will lose,” she added.

The code will apply equally to all those using the market and they were all given copies to study over the week following the meeting. This week all the vendors licensed to sell at the market will be required to sign the document, signifying their agreement and legal obligations to comply with the new rules.

The Tourism Attraction Board has management responsibility for the Cayman Craft Market and other tourism-related properties including the Queen Elizabeth 11 Botanic Park, Pedro St. James Castle, Hell, as well as the annual Pirates Week Festival.

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  1. John-the-Baptist says:

    Very interesting and an excellent post.I have found the craft market Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 01/16/2012 – 03:43.

    We could also add to the list:  T-Shirts, ceramic cups or plates, key rings, red, white and blue knit belts, necklaces, ear rings along with pictures of notables of these islands. Eg. The Frazer boys and any other sportsman running, swimming, singing or boxing.  The mosquitoes, the very first Court House, Ms. Nell from Breakers, Slow-Cum who earned $10 and bought 10 beers back in those days with something that says, "How to spend $10.00 in your district". Pic of Old man Webster on his donkey.( I personally have never seen a donkey on these islands but I saw a pic with Old Man Webster sitting on one). A turtle saying "Welcome to the Cayman Islands".  A breadfruit saying "Try me, they eat us". A pic of Lighthouse Restaurant with comments like" Light up the House and come dine with us". I have a lot of ideas that really cannot hold on this blog. Another example is 2 turtle kissing with a comment "Turtle Stew next". I am sure we can collectively sit down and start thinking and create new ideas for our own unique stuff for the craft market that says "Cayman".

  2. Paper Caymanian says:

    The Thatch Hats can also besold on construction sites, to Gardeners, tourist on the beach, people who uses the public transportation, joggers and people who participate in water sport and need something to keep the sun off their heads. However, this salemanship must be reserved for Caymanians only. 

  3. Paper Caymanian says:

    As a Paper Caymanian from Jamaica, I totally agree with 16/01/2012-16:51.  Certain jobs must definately be left for Caymanians.  How did a Jamaican find themselves in a Caymanian Craft Market? That could never happen in Jamaica. Caymanians, take back your market and display your Caymanian wares. There are so many other things that a Jamaican that has papers to live here can find to do.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Soon we will have the Dart Market  which will be full of Dartians (n:dart-e-uns.)  Haven't you all noticed that everything Cayman used to have Dart has taken over?  West Bay Road? Yacht Club? Cortyard Marriott? Taste of Cayman? Market at the Grounds? Annual Christmas Tree Lighting on the Court Steps? Parade of Lights in George Town Harbour?  Hello?  Dart Market soon come…. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly this is true.  Your fogot the Cinema and half the shops…and eventually I'm sure he will get Pirates Week too.

      Unfortunately he is very good at playing Caymanopoly soon to become Dartopoly.

    • The Anancy says:

      Yes I do hope the Dartmarket soon come, because at least he would do better for the people  of Cayman than is being done now.

      What ever Dart  has bought from people I am sure he never forced anyone to sell.  If I could have bought up all the properties he bought I would have done the same thing too.

      Gilbert and Smith and the Ministry turned a blind eye to what was happening with the craft market, they knew fully well what was  taking place, but they thought that no one was watching.  Those days in Cayman is done away with.  Now Caymanians have all the time in the world to watch others, because they have absolutely nothing else to do.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how long the complaints have actually been coming in before it is now being dealt with by the TAB.   TAB while you're at it fix the things at places like Pedro St. James that I have brought to your attention for two years and there has been no change.  I can only imagine that my suggestions and complaints are next in line to be considered.  And for the powers that be that want a wake up call….go down to the dock or give me a hidden camera so you can see what our valued guests are exposed to there on a daily basis.  It is most embarrassing for me as a Caymankind, hard-working, civilised Caymanian to have to witness the awful bahavior and rudeness and profanity by not only Caymanians which is bad enough but also Jamaicans who are also an emabrrassment to their fellow Jamaicans.  There are quite a few Taxi operators who should not be licensed to transport our guests PERIOD.  

    • Truth and fact says:

      Pedro castle needs some serious looking into  that is where you will see things that are not from Cayman.  Besides that HAUNTED HOUSE need to close down.

      what government need to do is open an inhouse craft market for Local crafters with Booths like you see in Flea Markets.  Listen up folks what the Big shots Caymanians in public and private sector think,, it is all about them selves, greedy, craving and selfish.   What a mean spirited set of people.   The would know heir brother up the road does not have a job or a bit o food to eat  and they dont care..  How can things really get any better here in this place

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sure that will all be fixed when Dart takes them over.  That includes when he take4s over the transportation system.  All the drivers will work for Dart.


  6. Anonymous says:

    Where oh where is the beloved manager? Ahhh boy if people only did their jobs…..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians, I mean indigenous Caymanians should occupy this craft market. How did so many Jamaicans get control of our tourism product and is ruining it like they destroyed Jamaica. Bringing that low class higler shouting and loud talking here to our shores. We don’t need it and our Tourists certainly do not need this kind of behavior. They could be mistaken for a Caymanian! We can’t allow that to happen either.

    So Gilbert rent out the space to Caymanians grass roots persons born here for generations others will need to stand in line if we are going to save our country and exercise the Cayman Kind.

    This is not Linstead Market downtown Jamaica…..Keep that mess over there. Don’t bring it here…..sane?

  8. Anonymous says:

    What about the thatch hats, handbags, etc. which some of the elderly people make. Some of these are beautiful and this could provide an income for them.  A nice restaurant with authentic Caymanian dishes, juices and heavy cake would also be great.  Many tourists complain that they never see a real Caymanian.  Caymanian products and culture should be the only things available here.  With so much unemployment, I don't see why most of the vendors should not also be Caymanian.  I have seen very few Caymanians at the market. 

    • Anonymous says:

      When I was in tourism we wanted to sell locally made thatch products.  Our Caymanian shop manager, on several occasions, went to many of the ladies who do thatch work.  Unfortunately the prices the ladies wanted were retail prices, not wholesale.  It was not possible to purchase these products at retail price and then mark up again as the price became more than the tourists were willing to pay.  We did buy a few items so that we would have some thatch work for sale, and added a modest mark up, and the items remained on the shelf unsold for quite a long time.  I realize that thatch work if very time intensive work but I think for retailers the pricing affects the ability to sell the items.

      • Anonymous says:

        You get what you pay for.

        Quality craftsmanship is priced accordingly; unfortunatley most people don't recognize Quality.

        So, they end up buying junk from the obnoxious loudmouths; cheap imported garbage at over inflated prices.

        Go figger taste.

      • Adam Smith says:

        What else do you expect in Cayman?  A sensible pricing policy?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I would love to see only Cayman-made crafts in the market.  Problem being, there are very few Caymanians making these traditional items.  Certainly not enough to stock a busy market.  Yet another traditional skill dying off.

  10. so Anonymous says:

    If it wasn't run by rude and unprofessional venders,  It wouldn't be a Caymankind craft fair.

    Just like every other Caymankind customer service business including anything government run.  And if your Caymanian and don't like this kind of representation every non Caymanian would like it if you could do your part in changing this.  Hint:  Getting mad and blameing "others" will not help.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am Caymanian and don't like what this country's become. Rude and profane is not the Cayman I grew up with, and it hurts to see this is the outlook some people have of our people now. Let's get back to our roots Cayman!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Do something about the “craft” market at the West Bay dock! Those unlicensed vendors have taken over the car park and are a real nuisance to anyone trying to use the public areas there.

  12. Caymanian to the bone says:

    Its about damn time something is done out there. Sh!t made in China sold as local craft. As for customer service there is none. Tourist being mowed down by venders for the sale……Its much like a Rugby game out there. ANIMALS

  13. Anonymous says:

    I Wang to see a copy of their trade and business license on display, just I have to byaw.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Code of Conduct??????


    I thought that Cayman was a Christian culture. Why should the government go farther into debt by writing a Code of Conduct? Get the churches to give them all a bible, reading lessons, and a list of nearby churches.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yup. It's about time that the ministers gave something in return for their Nation Building funds.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I have found the craft market to be lacking in authentic Caymanian crafts.  It’s about time this story has hit the media.

    While I have friends from around the world and enjoy their heritage when visiting them overseas or their home here, I would like for others to enjoy authentic Caymanian heritage when visiting us at the local Craft Market.

    Here are some of my dislikes from my last visit to the craft market:

    • Rasta tams.  This is a credit to Jamaican culture, NOT Caymanian.
    • Some kind of tribal looking wood carvings.  I’ve even heard the cruise ships passengers commenting they had already seen them on another island and less expensive.
    • Items made in South America, China etc.  Again these items are a credit to THEIR county not Cayman. 
    • This is the Cayman craft market not the Jamaican, South American, or Chinese Craft Market.
    • Oh and the office language of Cayman is English.  Employees with a second language are welcome and appreciated, BUT MUST speak ENGLISH fluently and use it as much as possible when on Craft Market property working their stall.
    • If we don’t teach our tourist what is authentic, who will????

    What I agree with or would prefer to see and could respect is:

    • Silver thatch products with a write of about of RARE this product is, with small inexpensive ( $10 or $15 items) that the cruise passenger can afford and carry easily.  This is not damaging to the Silver Thatch tree to produce, and could be sustainable.
    • Genuine local fish dinner with coconut milk and a slice of cassava heavy cake, sea grape jam, local sea salt, local pepper jelly etc. And nun a dat tomato paste and bell pepper foolishness…
    • Books about our local history, people and environment.  Like the Cayman Dictionary, The Sea Captain’s Wife, Birds and Butterflies of the Cayman Islands.
    • Music – North Side Kitchen Band, Miss Julia, Swanky, Hi Tide, Chuck and Barry, Natasha Kozaily, Andy Martin, Barefoot Man…
    • Quality photos of Cayman – I’m sure Darvin Ebanks, Cathy Church, Courtney Platt, Patrick Broderick and David Wolfe must have a few images in their collection to share.
    • Painting or prints of Cayman – Gordon, Randy, Wray, Al, Broad, Clarke and Griggs welcome.
    • Jewelry from Caymanite, local plants etc.  Too many diamond stores in GT for goodness sake.
    • A booth to offer tours of our island treasures 1) with National Trust for the Cayman Islands they could visit the Mastic Trail, the Mission House historic site, and Blue Iguanas Safari or with 2) TAB they could visit Botanic Park or Pedro St. James, Hell, Turtle Farm or other small local operators which do not have an office in central GT.
    • T-shirts, toys, figurines need to reflect authentic Caymanian animals (not the Pacific clown fish called Nemo!!! not GREEN Iguanas, not macaws, not monkeys, not hibiscus) They should have sting rays, the Cayman Parrott, Blue Iguana, Pedro St James, the CI Museum, Mission House, Miss Lassie’s House, the Elmslie Church, the Banana Orchid, the flower of the Broadleaf plant the Bluff or Booby Pond and other icons of Cayman.
    • Anything that is made locally with local materials. Products which come from a more sustainable resource should be given preference.

    That is my 2 cents worth!


    • Anonymous says:

      Good luck with that.

    • Caymanian Artisana says:

      03:43 Your comments hit the nail on the head, and I say that I do hope the Premier and the minister responsible and Tourisim attraction board will read your comments over and over and over again.  It is disagusting what has taken place, and believe me in my own words, I blame no one else but those who are responsible to see Caymanian crafts are out there and all those rasta tams and other foolishness from other peoples countries are removed.

      I am sick and tired of hearing tourist speak about it.  WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?  Sean Smith is it you, Mr Anglin is it you, Mr Gilbert is it you?  Well every one will will pass the bucket and say it is not them.  BULL SHI*t.   Stop complaining and accept the truth.  It is disgusting.  You need to make these people move their stuff, then invite Caymanians with their work.  Advertise on the Radio and in the paper, then all of the front tables are given to Cayman Local Artisans with their work.  Stop the pretending that you dont know. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Awesome! You should be working for Department of Tourism and if your list was the only kind of things that are sold it would be a true Cayman Craft Market.  Should also be a checklist for DOT to go down there and if the stuff isn't on the list it can't be sold.  If they are not going to sell the Caymanian items that you refer too, then a big sign should be posted that says JUNK MARKET so that there can be no mistake what you getting when you buy the chinese, south american, filipino whatever stuff they selling…. 

    • Anonnymous says:

      Excellent comment.  You should be in charge of this Market!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Gilbert, long overdue.

  17. Anony says:

    Interesting story. I thought that this market was supposed to sell only items made in Cayman. This does not seem to be the case and that should be rectified.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I would be interested to know if the 'black coral' which is precious and very expensive is actually real (the ones sold for cheap at the market) also the 'conch' necklaces. They are too inexpensive to be real…


    Why not sell real Cayman art, Cayman woven items, etc. Not this Rasta stuff!

    • Anonymous says:

      The black coral is real but it is against the law to harvest locally so it is imported  from abroad. In order to bring it into or out of Cayman you need a C.I.T.E.S. import or export permit.

      Since Cayman doesn't enforce this, Canada and US customs regularly seize black coral products from returning residents. 

      It doesn't matter anyway, I guess – CIG can do whatever it wants. The T.A.B. captured and kept two Cayman parrots at Pedro Castle in spite of any of those darn "laws".

    • Anonymous says:

      It is illegal for cruiseshippers as well as any vacationers to Cayman to bring back Queen Conch shells back into the US or UK unless they have proper CITES documentation.

      Yet they seem to flog them everywhere in GT

  19. Anonymous says:

    This makes a mockery of the whole CaymanKind project.

  20. Anonymous says:

    What percentage of the crafts sold at the craft market are actually made in Cayman? 10-20%?

  21. Anonymous says:

    "Gilbert Connolly, the CEO of TAB". Good Heavens, what can this post entail that we have to pay someone as a "CEO"? What can he do all day every day for five working days a week? I'll bet it's a hell of a salary too. This is the sort of question that should be asked in these difficult economic times but they won't be because…………………….

  22. Anonymous says:

    This market is pathetic! It's a shame and a disgrace.

    Only items MADE IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS should be sold here. Not imported from China or Central America.

    Also the number of street vendors now selling on the streets of downtown George Town is terrible. We will soon have people hawking items on the beach and harassing tourists.

    The CPA should clamp down on the planning laws relating to A-frame signs that litter the side walk and make it dangerous to walk safely around GT.

    Let's be responsible about how we sell our tourism to our tourists. Stop all this foolishness NOW!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Why are Rastafarian tams on sale at the Craft Market? Is that now considered part of Cayman's heritage?

  24. Anonymous says:

    How can they be CaymanKind when they are mostlyl Jamaican peddlers selling crap made in China?

  25. Regular visitor says:

    Be interesting to file an FOI request and find out exactly how many complaints have actually been received by the TAB (whoever they are?) because I've always found the vendors at this location friendly and honest.

    It seems more likely that this is just bitching by local shop owners who don't like the competition. 

    • insane says:

      You probably work there.
      I don't work either on the shops or there, but let's say the real truth here…….They are rude and unprofessional!!!
      The point it's not who is being rude as in some of the stores in GT the staff are rude also, but there they seem to be their own bosses.
      Try to go there just to look and walk away you will hear a curse, I heard that twice already and I was going to buy the thing but I made sure to say that to her that i had changed my mind because of her attitude!!! Its bad for our image (Cayman)!!! 
      PS.: I'm not caymanian, I don't have papers or any attachment here I just love Cayman and i want to protect the image of this island!!!

  26. Truth and fact says:

    It is about time Gilbert and Eric did something about that place, because I REALLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS REFLECTING.  Further more they should not allow crafts not made up here to be the first stalls approached by tourist these items should be in the back.  This is Cayman and we will find that our own people really do not care about us, we are sold out.