|??Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (FP)|
The dilapidated Fairchild Street Market will be demolished within the next two months.
Word of the impending demolition has come from Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, who toured the facility today, with environmental health officers. Mr. Inniss, who spoke with vendors to hear their concerns and inform them of Government’s plans to remove the structure, said he decided to tour the market out of concerns raised by environmental health officers over the unsanitary conditions there.
"We would like to have this building demolished within two months’ time. We recognise the process that is involved. The Ministry of Public Works has already been notified; the Ministry of Agriculture is working closely with them and the Cabinet has made the decision that this building, which was constructed around 1816 or so, has to be demolished without further delay and the rubble removed from this site. We have been talking about it for quite a while," the Health Minister said.
"This is a priority area for the Government. We have to, over the next couple of weeks, start the process of removing the asbestos roof and demolishing [the structure]. The task has been given to the Ministry of Public Works to make this happen," he stressed.
Mr. Inniss disclosed that there were a total of 54 vendors operating around the market and in the Fairchild Street Bus Terminal. He said that for quite some time, the Ministry of Health had been concerned about the conditions which ranged from a lack of bathroom facilities; no running water in some areas and rodent infestation.
The Health Minister said Government had already started work on the Probyn Street Market to the tune of approximately $200,000. When completed, it will provide facilities for 42 vendors. The intention, he pointed out, was to have those vendors who operated from Fairchild Street, relocated to more sanitary conditions at Probyn Street, the City.
Efforts to demolish the Market were being hampered by the presence of a number of vagrants who had made the market their home, Mr. Inniss said.
Some of them have set up makeshift beds and even have clothes hanging from clothes lines set up at the back of the market. In lieu of operational bathroom facilities, they have also improvised, giving the facility, which is littered with all manner of refuse, a pungent odour.
"…It is a dumping ground in many respects. It is just not Barbadian; it is just not the standard that we are willing to accept in the Ministry of Health, so we have started to do something about it," Mr. Inniss said.
He said work was "pretty well advanced" on the Probyn Street Market and once additional funding became available, it should be completed in a few months. Government wanted to redevelop the area stretching from Fairchild Street to the River Bus Terminal, the Health Minister explained, to include the concept of a genuine open air market with excellent sanitary conditions for staff and visitors to the facility; improved drainage and road works and improved amenities suited for the public.
Mr. Inniss emphasised that Government did not have any intention of shutting down "the small man" or getting rid of vending since it recognised that it was part of Barbadian culture. Instead, he pointed out, that Government wanted to provide the best conditions for vendors to "engage in lawful livelihood".