Oistins easy on Sundays

Wendell Calender,

Added 13 November 2012

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LIONEL RICHIE’S WORDS “easy like Sunday morning” aptly describe the atmosphere at the Berinda Cox Fish Market in Oistins, Christ Church, when we arrived there one Sunday around ten o’clock. One of the first people we met was Stephen, son of the late Berinda Cox, who was standing just a few yards away from the entrance of the fish market where a massive signboard with the inscription of the official name of the market stood aloft. Stephen told us that his mother had left two fishing boats which he was managing. He was unwrapping a thick rope which he said was useful for hauling up boats or mooring them. On that cool Sunday morning we soon discovered that the market was the place where fisherfolk gathered to mix and mingle with colleagues. Some of them had come from the more easterly area of Silver Sands. Stephen Bourne, from a well known fishing family of the Nurses, Bournes, Bynoes and Sargeants, looked very relaxed when we met him. The boat owner and captain of Gracias Papa (X77) and Gracias (X306) said: “I’m off today. I am just looking up the fellows.” Renald Price, also of Silver Sands, who has been involved in the fishing industry for about ten years and is well known as a conch shell blower, was also liming with the boys in Oistins. He said that he learned the art of blowing the conch shell from Orman Forde, one of the senior fisherman from Silver Sands, when he was just ten years old. Price has captained fishing boat X302 and is a seasoned fisherman even though he’s still in his twenties. It really is not surprising that the Silver Sands fisherfolk have gravitated to Oistins since being relocated there in 1983 when the modern facilities in Oistins became available. Before then, Silver Sands was a thriving fishing village.   Fisherman Noel Prescod said that he was born and grew up in Oistins on the same spot where the fish market was now located. He said his family, whose house was near to the water’s edge, was relocated to accommodate the construction of the complex. Adding that most of his family, dating as far back as his grandfather, had been attracted to the fishing industry, Prescod recalled how his grandmother used to dry fish on the rooftop to preserve them before the advent of refrigeration. Corey Flatts was busy selling lobsters and angel fish as tourists gathered around. His story was an interesting one. He said he was a diver who would go a mile and a half out to sea, using spears, nets and pots to catch fish. He would usually be accompanied by team members Sylvester Howard and Bruce Bernard-Barrett. Maureen Daniel of Mo’s Grill and Bajan Cooking was also in the market, buying fish for her establishment in the Bay Garden. Located next to the bandstand, her place was well known for its Monday night entertainment with Mr Impact and limbo dancer and fire-eater Cheryl Grazette. Daniel was purchasing her fish from Neil “Redman” Carrington of Freedom Fish House, who has been involvedin the fishing industry for 23 years. Basil Walcott, from Gall Hill, located about one mile to the north of the fishing complex, was artfully boning fish. This was now his specialty but he is no stranger to the range of fishing activities since he was once a fisherman. The coconut vendors plying their trade nearby brought welcome relief to the industrious fisherfolk, who were either enjoying the cool coconut water or munching on the jelly. It was easy like Sunday morning in Oistins as fisherfolk and their customers engaged in Bajan traditions of which we are still proud.

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