While Government will continue to enhance the infrastructure in markets across the island, Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, believes that improvements will not be realized without an emphasis on values.
This was a clear message sent to fisherfolk and others recently at the re-opening ceremony for the Berinda Cox Fish Market in Oistins, Christ Church.
Challenging the workers to maintain a code of conduct, Minister Humphrey said: “We cannot grow, we cannot excel if we continue to do all the things that we were previously doing…. We are determined that as we have repaired the market it is important for us to have a code of conduct so that the way that we conduct ourselves as we ply our trade with people must be at the standard that reflects the market itself.
“You must now engage in excellence as Ambassadors for the country. Many of you have told me that you are so integral to the tourism industry and I respect that. But you are integral to Barbados and you must reflect the values that we wish to be reflected in Barbados.”
A dress code and proper maintenance of the market were also called for by the Maritime Affairs Minister.
He noted there would be a collaborative effort on the part of his Ministry and fisherfolk, as well engagement with international partners such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations Development Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Argentine Embassy.
“We must be able to make this fishing industry the best in the entire Caribbean and the world and together we will be able to do it,” he said to an audience that included Stella Lady St. John, widow of former Prime Minister Sir Harold St. John, Member of Parliament for Christ Church South Ralph Thorne and President of the Barbados National Union of Fisherfolk Organisations, Vernel Nicholls.
In her address, Ms. Nicholls pointed out that the value of the fishing industry was not only in the fish landings but the investment in its vessels and fisherfolk, as a whole.
While expressing appreciation for the renovations and echoing similar sentiments as the Minister, she told fisherfolk that given that they had undergone requisite training it was their responsibility to manage, maintain and operate in their individual spaces provided at the market.
The renovations at the Berinda Cox Fish Market, which cost over $500,000, included roof repairs, tiling, upgraded cupboards and drainage, as well as improvements to staff quarters.