THE EDITOR: My brother has always pointed out that when traffic lights fail you can often tell when a policeman has been posted to regulate the flow of traffic – there’s a huge jam. Without a policeman, drivers muddle through and get where they’re going soon enough.
The same principle seems to be at play at the Port of Spain Central Market where, presumably in an effort to enforce guidelines for minimising the spread of covid19, many of the normal points at which people enter and leave the market have either been closed entirely or turned into bottlenecks with the posting of police.
The result has been huge traffic jams early Saturday morning with vendors and shoppers all trying to get into and out of the main parking lot through a formerly wide double-gate entrance, now narrowed by the closing, by the police, of one of the gates.
Once inside, there’s another bottleneck between the parking lot and the market itself, because one of the two gateways connecting these two areas has been shut. Three sinks for handwashing have been placed at the remaining gateway, where more police enforce the wearing of masks and the washing of hands.
The result is a crowd milling around a car park further congested with vehicles that normally would not be there, defeating the possibility of physical distancing.
Since most people now know the supposed importance of physical distancing, handwashing, and the wearing of masks, I recommend the following strategy:
* Reopen all the gates to allow people to move quickly in and out of the market without congestion.
* Install more sinks, with soap, all around the market.
* Deploy police to roam the market to ensure people wear their masks.
I believe the authorities mean well, but they’re doing clumsily what people would better do on their own.