|Millie Ifill (centre), is honoured today when M.P. Rawle Eastmond (left) and Dr. David Estwick, Minister of Agriculture, unveil the plague renaming the Weston Fish Market to the Millie Ifill Fish Market. (C.Pitt/BGIS)|
One of Barbados’ most loyal daughters was honoured yesterday with the Weston Fish Market in St. James being renamed the "Millie" Ifill Fish Market, after the 95-year-old former fish vendor.
Mrs. Ifill, who was born on November 29, 1915 at Broomefield, St. Lucy, has worked in the fishing industry for some 70 years and is a stalwart of the Weston community.
Speaking during yesterday’s ceremony, Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick, paid tribute to Mrs. Ifill, noting that her contribution to the fishing industry and the Weston community was immeasurable.
"It was noted that she was comfortably the best itinerant sales person… Millicent’s interaction with the public fostered good customer relations… as she eventually started to ply her trade in the fish market after years of traversing the community. With her customers now coming to her, the development of the Weston Fish Market grew, and the market’s popularity became well known, particularly in the northern hemisphere of the island."
The Fisheries Minister also underscored the importance of the fishing industry to the local economy, stating that from 2006-2010, fish production contributed 12.6 per cent to agriculture’s Gross Domestic Product.
"It is estimated that 6, 000 persons are directly and indirectly involved in fishing. There are approximately 2, 000 full and part-time fishermen operating from 31 landing sites around the island producing on average 2, 841 tonnes of fish…At present there are 1, 036 vessels registered as being actively involved in the fishing industry," he confirmed.
Dr. Estwick, however, expressed concern that the fisherfolk population in Barbados was aging and thus, "an injection of young blood" was required in the industry."
To this end, the Fisheries Minister said his ministry would work in tandem with the education sector to encourage more young Barbadians to get involved in fishing to ensure the industry had a future.
"It is imperative that we encourage more young persons into the business of fish production; the lingering status must be exorcised. Our youth must be made aware that there are a lot of persons such as Mrs. Ifill who have made and continue to make a quality living out of fishing…There can be no denying the fact that Mrs. Ifill has been a beacon of entrepreneurship and industry; a proud Barbadian whose attitude and approach to life are worthy of emulation," Dr. Estwick maintained.