One hundred and fifty-five vendors are to be relocated from the Scarborough Market on Wilson Road from Sunday to a newly constructed temporary facility at Shaw Park, opposite the Shaw Park Cultural Complex and metres away from the Orange Hill gas station.
News of the date of relocation was announced in a press release from the Division of Food Production on Tuesday night and appears to contradict information from Food Production Secretary Hayden Spencer, who earlier that day, told Newsday Tobago that no decision was as yet made on a relocation date.
Spencer was asked for comment following protest action by vendors at the compound of the current Scarborough market who complained that no information was communicated to them until that morning that they were to move to the Shaw Park.
Spencer told Newsday Tobago on Tuesday that no date was as yet confirmed for the relocation because the persons in charge of the temporary market were yet to meet with representatives of the vendors’ committee.
“Somebody is making mischief. The whole idea is for the oversight committee of the Division to meet with the interim committee (of vendors) to discuss and come up with a date for the move. There is no arrangement yet because we are yet to meet with the interim committee that represents the vendors and the oversight committee for the temporary market.
“I met with the oversight committee on Monday and I instructed them to make the necessary arrangements, communicate with the (vendors) interim committee to set up a date so that we can meet.
“It is time that we meet with the vendors and discuss whatever date is comfortable to them, but this has not been done just yet,” he said.
The vendors, who were joined by Minority Leader Watson Duke, told reporters on Tuesday morning that an official from the Food Production Division had visited them that morning and told them that they must vacate the Scarborough market by Saturday. The vendors wanted more time to make the transition, particularly with Mother’s Day being on Sunday. The vendors said that they did state this concern to the officials but were ignored with the instruction being given for them to move to Shaw Park by Saturday.
Produce vendor Alvin Felix said he was first told he had two weeks to relocate his goods to the new location, but was then told on Tuesday that he must relocate within four days.
““It’s hard for us to move by Mother’s Day where people come to do extra shopping but if they want to start breaking down by this Sunday, it’s not good enough for us, give us more time,” he said.
As the vendors were airing their grievances inside the market building, workers were busy removing the water tanks which service the market, and loading them onto truck to take to the Shaw Park facility. One vendor told Newsday Tobago, the water supply to the market was shut off.
Tuesday night’s press release from the Division said the vendors will be from Sunday to Tuesday.
“This has become necessary due to the advanced state of disrepair of the Scarborough Market facility on Wilson Road Scarborough, Tobago, the release said, adding that market operations will be suspended for the period of the relocation but will resume at the temporary facility at Old Government Farm Road and Orange Hill Road, Shaw Park on Wednesday, May 16 from 6 am. The Division said the temporary facility has all amenities to ensure maximum comfort and security for stakeholders.
“These include parking for vendors, customers and staff, toilet facilities, completed vending stalls, customised containers for meat, fish and food vendors.