Market opened at the temporary facility at Shaw Park on Wednesday with some vendors settling in comfortably while others had some complaints – not enough garbage bins, no chillers to store goods and too small tables to properly display produce for consumers.
During a visit by Newsday Tobago shortly after 11am, a few vendors were ready to do business while infrastructural work was still being done on other stalls.
Officials from the Marketing Department of the Food Production Division present at the facility, assured that steps were being taken to resolve the vendors’ complaints issues in the shortest possible time.
“We want the public to know we have reopened market business at Shaw Park, we are inviting the public to come down to shop and patronise the facility and to build the commerce of local food production in Tobago,” said Karen Shaw, Agro-Investment Specialist with the Division. Shaw said an official opening is tentatively scheduled for next week.
Meanwhile the vendors also called on the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to clamp down on street vending, which they feel will negatively impact their sales now that they were no longer in the heart of Scarborough.
One vendor said the fear was that customers would not travel to Shaw Park but opt to make purchases from street vendors in and around Scarborough.
Responding to this concern, Food Production Secretary Hayden Spencer said the police was on board, monitoring that situation for us to ensure that no vending takes place outside of the old (market) facility.
“The laws governing the market are still in place at the old location and this is clear that there should be no vending within a three-mile radius of the facility. When E-IDCOT takes charge of that compound, they would be cordoning off the entire area to start their construction, so you don’t want to start encouraging persons to start vending near the construction site. We have the police involved,” Spencer assured.
He noted that this law does not apply to vending within a three-mile radius of the Shaw Park facility as it was a temporary market set up to facilitate renovations to the Wilson Road market.
He said to discourage this practice, additional space was made available at the Shaw Park facility for itinerant vendors who can simply go to the Division’s marketing department and apply for space, ‘and they would be accommodated.’
Later in the day, at the post Executive Council media briefing at the Administrative Complex in Calder Hall, Spencer reported on planned renovations for the Scarborough market.
“The procurement process, the Eco-Industrial Development Company of Tobago (E-IDCOT), they are the project managers and they would have already sourced a contractor and we are hoping that as from next week, they would take possession of the market and soon after begin works in renovation.
“The primary objective of this undertaking is to safeguard human health and safety as well as to promote agriculture as a viable business, to increase the number of committed agro-producers and to increase production on the island through the improvement of services and facilities extended to the farming community,” he said.