The $36 million Scarborough market is officially open for business.
Work at the newly refurbished, long-awaited market began in July 2018. The Wilson Road facility, which was recommissioned on Monday, has the capacity to accommodate 242 vendors.
Secretary of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries Hayden Spencer said that the scope of works of this project included the construction of a lay-by/drop off zone; refurbishment of the main building; refurbishment of the vegetable and fish market stall areas; construction of refuse collection system; mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure; installation of new cold storage components; reconstruction of internal and external toilet banks and upgrade to staff accommodation building.
He encouraged all to embrace the refurbished facility.
“The facility belongs to all of us, it is ours to enjoy. I implore Tobago citizens to patronise your market, our local vendors and farmers. A clean, modern, upgraded facility awaits you,” he said.
He said the project was undertaken to upgrade the existing facility in compliance with international health and safety standards and will ensure that all vendors selling agro, livestock, fish and cooked foods are compliant with international food safety regulations and the Food Safety Act.
In addition, he said it ensures that the market area is a safe place to shop for the populace, with improved toilet and sanitary facilities, improved air circulation in and around the building, cold chain processes for livestock operations, proper accommodation for office, field and technical staff performing daily duties and support systems for the projected end users.
During the refurbishment period, the market operations were housed at a temporary facility in Shaw Park. The Secretary said that the Shaw Park facility will now be transformed into a Tobago farmers wholesale market.
“So in order for these facilities to function and function effectively, I am imploring you the vendors of the Scarborough market to support your farmers at the wholesale market. So you no longer have to make these several trips to Trinidad,” he said.
Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis shared some of his plans for agriculture on the island including the setting up of a Tobago market in Trinidad.
“In the not too distant future, through the arrangements of the new Tobago Agribusiness Development Company there would be established in Trinidad a marketing facility that would ensure we create opportunities for our farmers here in Tobago to get their goods into the Trinidad market. We must not only feed ourselves here in Tobago, but we must feed Trinidad and Tobago.
“This country is expending significant resources importing food, if we put our shoulders to the wheel and do all that is necessary, then we can in fact produce enough to ensure that we are able to import less and therefore some of those resources used in importing food can be utilised in other critical areas such as healthcare, education etcetera,” he said.
Also at the opening ceremony were Secretary of Finance and the Economy Joel Jack and chairman of E-IDCOT Kamau Akili.