OPERATORS at the Berinda Cox Fish Market and the adjoining Oistins Bay Gardens are crying out over “deplorable conditions”.
Stall owners, fishermen and fish cleaners say the complex, which hosts the popular Oistins Fish Fry, is in dire need of an upgrade.
The fish market is congested and, at times, unsanitary, they say, with stray dogs and cats, vermin and egrets all competing for space alongside workers.
“Because it is an open market, cats, dogs and rats roam freely around the market and this is made worse because some vendors feed the animals,” said one stall owner, who did not wish to be identified.
She added that vagrants could also be seen lying on the ground in the market and even though most vendors tried to keep their stalls clean and sanitary these situations were making the market unsanitary.
“People out here are handling food and this is not the best sanitary conditions to work under. The floor is always slippery and because the ceiling is not sealed birds are nestling up there. This market has become a free for all,” the vendor said.
Fishermen also expressed dissatisfaction that there were no bathroom facilities.
“There were two bathrooms out here but they lick them down and replace them with five toilets so the fishermen have to stand naked on the jetty and bathe or catch a bus smelling like raw fish. That is not right,” said boat owner Anthony Nurse, as other fishermen and boat owners nearby agreed vociferously.
Fifty-year-old Ralph Lashley, who said he had been fishing at Oistins for several years, charged that the market was desperately in need of a “long overdue” upgrade.
Another worker said with so many public servants on the breadline given the recent lay-offs, it was inevitable that many of the unemployed will soon gravitate towards the market in search of work and he asked where would they be accommodated since the market was already congested.
In relation to the Bay Gardens Complex, some stall owners and fishermen complained about a large pool of filthy and pungent water which continuously settled on the pavement around the facility.
“Everyday hundreds of locals and visitors does walk through here and you should see them jumping and skipping over that dirty water,”?a fisherman said. “When out here is full on weekends they have no choice but to just walk through it and that is dirty water coming from the wells.”
And pointing to broken slabs in the gutter, he said this was years since the slabs had been replaced.
“So many people fall into this gutter already and I want to know if they are waiting for someone to be injured to install these slabs properly,” he said.
When contacted Henderson Greaves, the manager of markets, said he would not be commenting on the situation. (MB)