Chaguanas vendors upset over spoilt goods

Spoilt goods belonging to a vendor at the Chaguanas market.  - Photo by Angelo Marcelle
Spoilt goods belonging to a vendor at the Chaguanas market. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Two days after the Chaguanas market was immediately closed because of a covid19 case, vendors returned to the building on Tuesday to find thousands of dollars' worth of goods spoilt.

The vendors told Newsday on Tuesday morning they were disappointed they weren’t allowed to return to the building to fetch their items sooner.

Many of the vendors said they were still in the dark as to what happened.

Chaguanas market vendor Marla Seethal peels cassava at her stall on Tuesday. Her daughter Shivani looks on. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Most of them told Newsday they aren’t concerned about the covid19 case, but instead raised concerns about their losses owing to the temporary closure of the building.

Vice-president of the Market Vendors Association Nirol Bissessar told Newsday the vendors are disappointed by the way the authorities handled the situation. He said they were told through a group chat on Saturday night just after 11 that the market would be closed on Sunday.

He believes the authorities knew about the case over a week ago.

“The way they moved this late put people’s lives in jeopardy, and between that time the market wasn’t sanitised.”

He also said vendors have lost thousands in plantain, cabbage, tomatoes and other produce while the market was closed for sanitisation.

“They didn’t even allow us to come in and take out our stuff. I have $2,000 in losses and that’s me, one vendor,” Bissessar told Newsday as he pointed to a box of dried cabbage in a cardboard box below his stall.

“The mayor hasn’t visited, us. In fact, we tried on four occasions to meet with him...”

Other vendors also called on the borough to provide a proper sanitisation station and sanitise in and around the building regularly.

Bissessar said, “There are pipes by some of the gates, but no soap to wash hands. There is no water by the pipes. I am sure there wasmore than one case – they only detected one.”

Coconut vendor Cecil Joseph said he complained about uncontrolled crowds during the weekends but nothing was done. “We could have monitored the people before, but the crowd wasn’t easy. We had a crowd here Saturday before they announced we had a case, so who knows who else was exposed?

"I’m also disappointed with the way police were forcing us to throw away all our goods, but I told them when they found cases in Massy Stores, they didn’t tell them to throw away all their grocery. When they found a case in PriceSmart, they should have told them to dump their goods.

Police officers stand outside the Chaguanas market on Tuesday. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle

“Why it is they telling the vendors everything has to dump?”

Calls to Chaguanas mayor Faaiq Mohammed on Tuesday evening were unanswered.


"Chaguanas vendors upset over spoilt goods"

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