The late Rita ‘Sissy’ Hunte, a former fish vendor, has been memorialised at the Berinda Cox Fish Market, Oistins, Christ Church, with a stall being renamed in her honour.
Ms. Hunte, who plied her trade at the market for over four decades, died in a freak accident on the compound on June 24, this year.
Following a brief ceremony this morning, the plaque bearing her name was officially unveiled by Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, and Member of Parliament for Christ Church South, Ralph Thorne, and witnessed by her family and friends.
As he delivered his remarks, Minister Humphrey described Ms. Hunte as a pleasant lady, who was “very nice” to him. “She was always one to wish me a very good day and I really do appreciate her,” he recalled.
He said his Ministry was pleased to grant the request of her colleagues for the stall to be renamed in her memory.
“I hope it reflects the fact that as a Ministry, we are above and beyond the idea that we are the institution, separate and distinct from those who work in the industry, because without the fishermen and vendors, we have nothing in fisheries.”
It was with this in mind that the Minister of Maritime Affairs acknowledged the contributions of fisher folk, past and present, as well as other unsung nation builders, stating their efforts were pivotal in Barbados’ development throughout the years.
Minister Humphrey also took the opportunity to reiterate Government’s commitment to improving and modernising the fishing industry, and outlined several plans to make this a reality.
Referring specifically to the Berinda Cox Fish Market, he highlighted the installation of safety barriers in the area between the stalls and parking area; refurbished stalls; installation of an ice machine and the construction of a vegetable kiosk.
Minister Humphrey also announced that much needed remedial work would begin on the jetty at Oistins, before the end of the year.
“Government has approved BDS$1.4 million to do the jetty…. We’ve had all the works done. We’ve had a comprehensive assessment and we will begin that work because when I met with the fishermen they told me the jetty was one of their priorities,” he said.
Minister Humphrey also noted that a slip-way was on the cards for Oistins to make it easier for boats to be hauled into or out of the water.
Turning his attention to the overall industry, the Minister suggested the time had come for stakeholders to explore methods to increase catches, as well as processing of fish, among other things.
“We have to change the way we process fish because there are phytosanitary standards we must meet to be able to export to the European Union. We’ve started that conversation and we intend to be compliant,” he stated.