Minister of Agriculture, Senator Haynesley Benn, is urging vendors to “pull their weight” in keeping the surroundings at the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex in a sanitary state.
His comments were made during a visit to that facility this morning, to address several complaints by fisherfolk.
Stating that both parties must play their part, Senator Benn also called on management to “step up and raise their own bar”.
“It is obvious that one of the reasons the market is in such bad shape is due to poor management,” Benn stressed.
He further pointed out that there was a high degree of absenteeism among officers as well as supervisors and this was posing a “serious problem” in terms of maintaining the upkeep of the Market.
“We have cases where supervisors are absent on a daily basis, in one case an officer is off three out of five days,” he lamented, while assuring the public that this issue would be addressed.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, who also visited the Complex, told reporters that the same standards that were expected from the private sector must be upheld for Government.
“This market feeds thousands of Barbadians and we cannot place people’s health at risk.
However, the market’s management must be addressed and the Ministry of Health in no way wants to compromise anyone’s health. Subsequently, vendors too have a role to play in terms of keeping their surroundings clean,” he underscored.
Also accompanying Minister Inniss was Senior Environmental Health Officer at the Black Rock Polyclinic, Ms. Elizabeth Mahabir-Jones, who emphasised that vendors must be willing to vacate the market in order for the facility to receive a general cleaning.
“Some workers are not willing to leave. Hence, this too is a problem,” she surmised.
In addition, she added that fisherfolk must be empowered to do their own cleaning.
“In some instances, we have some vendors who do not have the right tools or even the right chemicals. And, furthermore, some of the cutting boards are in a deplorable state. We cannot place the health of Barbadians at risk,” she exclaimed.
Vendors complained about mossy and rusty sinks, an improper drainage system, dirty bathrooms that could not be flushed, scraps of fish on the ground and inadequate garbage disposals.