FIVE months after the Carenage Fishing Centre was ceremonially opened last June, the first sales came in November when vendors were given their stalls to sell.
Newsday reported that Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat said in October that the centre would have opened on October 26, after it was ceremonially opened on June 9. This delay he said was to dealw ith two squatters at the back of the facility as well as boat owners leaving their vessels in the boat repair area.
Another concern was the constriction of a restaurant type area adjacent to the fish market which the minister said would have caused dust and other unsanitary conditions. On November 6, the fish market was opened by a member of a management team established to run the facility.
Contacted on Saturday, the official said since the opening in November, things have been slow and he blamed this on ignorance. “Plenty people don’t know the centre is now open for business. The people who does buy fish are usually old people and two things they does always do is watch the 7 O’clock news and read papers. So please put it in the Newsday so that people can know we are open,” said the official who asked not to be identified.
Before the opening, fishermen sold out of a shed at the back of the facility. The facility at present is running at half its capacity with only six vendors. Each vendor must pay a monthly fee of $500, which covers free clean up and ice.
While some may consider the fee a bit expensive, the official explained that it will cost roughly $17 daily, which is less than the cost of one pound of King Fish, which retails at $40 per pound. The facility is opened everyday, Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 5 pm and on Sundays and all public holidays, from 7 am to 2 pm.
When the fish market was opened on June 9 by Prime Minister Keith Rowley, he said the $28 million facility will be a national one and not just for the people of Carenage. He added that apart from fish vending, the adjacent building will host a mixture of culinary arts and cultural performances and become a place for entertainment.
The cost of constructing the adjacent building was estimated at $5 million. To date, nothing and no activity has been done at the adjacent building.
Rowley said that building will be modelled after Oistins Fish Fry in Barbados where locals and tourists would go to eat good food, drink, lime, and be entertained. He said once the facility was established, if used for the purpose it was built, the centre would be a serious economic entity for the people of Carenage.