Street vending provides an economic lifeline for many persons, but for some, it is deemed to be illegal and an unsightly image for the Territory. With the COVID-19 pandemic, more persons are turning to street vending. These are their stories.
At almost 31, Mr. Jesse Edwards has had a hard life, living with the lasting effects of a stroke that has left half of his body limp; he has been the target of bullies, including on the job, but it was these hardships that he used to propel him to become an entrepreneur.
“I have been knock about so many times by people I tell myself I don’t want to work for anybody again in my life. I don’t want anybody to take advantage of me and tell me what they want, tell me what they feel like,” Mr. Edwards told BVI Platinum News in a recent interview.
He explained that he has landed jobs in the past as a pump attendant and as a landscaper for a major resort, but the latter only lasted three days because a coworker felt that his disability was reason enough to complain to the hierarchy, which eventually got him released from his job.
“Sometimes I feel depressed, sometimes I just feel neglected,” he said somberly.
He continued: “Through I grow up without my father, I just want my father to be around.”
Mr. Edwards explained that his father was abusive to his mother while he was still an unborn child, and that caused him to get meningitis which is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, and while still a baby, he got a stroke.
Meningitis can be caused by injuries, cancer, certain drugs and other types of infections.
Despite being unable to use his left hand and feet, Edwards has his own juice making business, and he sells seasonal fruits and vegetables on the sidewalk adjacent from Bobby’s on De Castro Street.
“It’s going good so far,” he said. “In the future I might be running a juice factory, a paint factory and a landscaping business,” the youngster said with a smile tugging at his lips.
Mr. Edwards attended the Virgin Islands
School of Technical Studies, where he learnt electronics.
In parting, he took the time to caution other men on the effects that domestic violence could have on one’s life, which has caused him to be half the man he could be.
“Fellas, if the woman argues with you or put her hands on you, don’t hit them, just walk away; if you hit them you would get locked away,” he said.