The Berinda Cox Fish Market at Oistins, Christ Church, was reopened today, with Minister of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, both lauding the effort put into renovating its infrastructure and acknowledging that others stood to benefit.
Giving the rationale behind the transformation of the market at Oistins, he said: “I felt that if persons are being asked to work every single day they must come to work in the best of conditions because the vendors in this country matter. So, we determined that we wanted to make the conditions here as best as possible so that people could work in good conditions.”
While praising the fishermen and fish vendors for adding to his education about what constitutes the Blue Economy, Minister Humphrey said the work comprised the cleaning up of the market, and the removal of some derelict boats, among other tasks.
“I would like to see more of the derelict boats moved and I have already spoken to the Chief Fisheries Officer to communicate the fact that if boats are not being used then they cannot just occupy a space. Allow the people who have functional activities to be able to use the space,” he emphasised.
Mr. Humphrey further registered his concern about the state of the infrastructure in his Ministry as a whole but assured those gathered at the ceremony that he was bent on addressing this.
“You could pick any market and you would see that almost any market under the Ministry has fallen into complete disrepair over the last few years. So, we had a vision and a mission in the Ministry to repair all of the markets, one by one, day by day, step by step; so I feel good today but I will feel better tomorrow when we are in a position to say that we have fixed all of the markets in the Ministry.”
Hinting that the newly-renovated Berinda Cox market would not be the only one, he stated that by early next year, work should be started on the Oistins Jetty to repair it “so that people could really make the most of the infrastructure”.
He added: “We’ve fixed this market but we’re also working at the same time on the market in Bridgetown [and] the market in Speightstown. I started with the vendors here because I felt for a number of reasons the vendors are at the core of the market… but we intend to extend it into the back to fix the vendoring for the fishermen, to be able to make sure that they also have a safe harbour. We also have to ensure there is a safe facility, first of all, and a proper haul out facility in Barbados. There is really none.”
Minister Humphrey disclosed that a team from his Ministry had conducted a tour last Friday to determine what could be the new area for this haul-out facility.
Stressing there must be one, he told fisherfolk: “There must be a safe area for the fishing vessels so that you do not have to go and ask somebody who may tell you ‘no!’ to put up your boats. And, there also has to be a proper haul out facility so that when we haul out the boats, the boats are properly maintained.”
Pointing out that training would be a big part of the Ministry’s work, he said it was necessary for those already in the industry to bring others, especially young people, into training and the industry as a whole.
He revealed there would soon to be a programme that would bring a number of young people into the fishing industry and to assist them in understanding more about the sea itself.