VENDORS at the San Fernando Central Market are at odds with the San Fernando City Corporation (SFCC) over a decision to close the market on Wednesday for cleaning.
They want mayor Junia Regrello to reconsider the decision but he says the decision was made to save lives.
“I hear them, but lets observe lives above profit,” Regrello said, noting that it was just for a short time until the pandemic ended.
Vendors said the SFCC had taken several unilateral decisions that were greatly affecting their sales. They identified a decision to switch market days in San Fernando from Saturday to Sunday and at Marabella from Sunday to Saturday.
Additionally, the vendors said the decision to close the market on Wednesday for it to be sanitised was not done in consultation with them neither did they have a choice in opting to leave goods overnight at the premises.
While they acknowledged the dire situation the country and the world faces with the covid19 pandemic, the vendors said, given that Friday is a public holiday in observance of Good Friday, a peak market time, that day could have been used to clean the market instead of Wednesday.
On Monday, the city issued a release saying the heads of the SFCC met to discuss the ongoing crisis as it relates to public health in the city and took certain decisions, including the closure of the market on Wednesday.
Vendors were also advised to remove all their goods before the closure of the market on Tuesday to facilitate the sanitising process on Wednesday and were further advised that new arrangements would be put in place for the stocking of goods.
Vendors told the Newsday a cost was incurred each time they had to transport goods to and from the market which was why they left unsold items at the market.
But Regrello said dry goods, fruits and vegetables left at the market stalls were "rat magnets."
He said the public health inspectors had checked the markets and the new arrangements were designed to better manage the market and improve public health.
He said people were now at home and could come to the market on Thursday to purchase their vegetables for their Good Friday meals.
“Friday, being a public holiday, we are appealing to the public to utilise Thursday and Saturday for the Marabella Market, and Thursday and Sunday for the Central Market.
"Market will be open from 4 am to 4 pm on Thursday.”
He urged vendors and shoppers to wear their masks at the markets and use the available hand-washing facilities