Every day, five days a week, 40-year-old Carey Gill can be found opposite the Central Immigration Office, Eve Leary, selling passport holders.
Though a welder by trade, Gill has been vending for almost half of his life and also does two other jobs to help maintain his family.
The father of nine children can be found hawking his passport casings from as early as 7 am until 4 pm.
“I wake up every day at 4 am to keep devotion with my family. When I finish I cook for me children and me wife [then] I come here for 7 am because that is the time they does start sharing passport,” he said.
Before Gill turned to vending passport holders, he worked with his wife selling footwear on the busy Regent Street pavement. “We had to move from there,” he said. “The constables always run we down telling we that we have to move we stall. I get really fed up and me wife get tired of this too. I had to move and look for something else to do.”
And after a hard day of standing in the sun selling the casings, he goes to the Glow International Hotel where he does maintenance work. “Sometimes I reach home till 10 in the night. The only time I get to spend with my family is on the weekend.” Gill is now the sole breadwinner for his family so his third job involves working as the DJ when the hotel has parties or weddings. “I select and run de music. Is not something I ever imagine doing but I don’t have a choice.”
Gill who lives at Lot 173 Vryheid’s Lust East Coast Demerara, recalls that he left school at age of 14 to learn a trade. “My teacher told me that I should do something that I like,” he said. “At that time I always wanted to do welding.” He added that after his years of training he stayed home for two years before securing a job with a friend’s father. After almost seven years, his friend’s father died and his only option then to earn a living was to work with a construction company.
“I never liked doing construction, but when you have responsibility you can’t look on what you like and don’t like doing.” But the man explained that after a while he had to quit. “People use to pay me when dem feel like. They [also] underpay me for the good work I did.”
His daily wage from vending passport holders is not sufficient to take care of his nine children but with the other jobs, he tries to cope. “This economy is really rough. Cost of living get really high. All my children still in school… me got to find textbooks. Plus they still got to eat properly.”
The man admitted that sometimes he feels really discouraged “I ask myself why I have to be this way. When I work with people they pay you whatever they want, now I work with myself it hard to make a dollar a day.”
He added that there were days when he felt embarrassed. “People have it that vendors are nobody, but right now I have become seasoned in selling passport casing so I don’t care what people have to say.”
He told this newspaper that his major concern is instilling the importance of education in his children. “I always teach me children how important it is to have a good education. That is why I work so hard because I don’t want my children to face what I pass through. To me is not that people illiterate is just that they were taught wrong so they live wrong. Because if I had people to tell me to go to school and tek in me education I would have been a way better man today.”
Gill added that making a living can be very hard but it is good to persevere to accomplish what you desire from life. “I am a determined man and I will try my best to make my family comfortable so if it means selling these passport casing in the hot sun or pouring rain then I am ready to do so.” (Roxanne Clarke)