RADHICA DE SILVA
A day after he raised allegations of discrepancies at the San Fernando market, lone pork vendor Wayne Attong says he is now locked out of the facility.
Attong said he went to the market at 6 am to sell his pork but was told he needed to get another inspection certificate before he could begin his sales. He had provided a certificate on Monday after getting his supply of pork from Erin Farms.
“The people by the roadside are bringing meat from all over and putting up their sheds. I am a bonafide meat vendor who has the requirements to sell pork but they are trying to victimize me,” Attong said.
He added, “Public Health Department is supposed to come and inspect the meat. But up to 10 am, they never did. I got fed up of waiting and I went home,” he said.
He added that the market needed an overhaul.
Attong also said that someone was getting $239 per weekday and $478 per day on weekends for a chiller which does not work. This amounts to $8,604 per month.
“The market is closing at 3.30 pm rather than 4 pm. The clerks do not come downstairs until 7.30 am and I am not allowed into the pork room until the truck arrives with the meat certificate,” he added.
He noted that the pork shop should be opened as soon as he arrives so he can begin to sell.
But contacted for comment, chief executive officer, Indarjit Singh said the chiller was serviced twice for the year and broke down again in October.
“Its an old chiller and I was told by the engineer it worked until early October. Today after doing an assessment, we realized that its an electrical problem. Anytime we spend money on this chiller it doesn’t last. Council will have to decide whether they will replace the chiller next year or come into an arrangement with Attong,” Singh said.
He explained that public health officials tested Attong’s meat yesterday and found the temperature averaged between 16 to 17 degrees.
“The meat wasn’t frozen and so the Public Health Department had to intervene,” Singh added.
Concerning the salary paid to the chiller attendant, Singh explained, “The chiller attendant does other duties when the chiller is not working. He assists the market administrators. There is no other place to put him. He is a permanent worker and his salary is not for the chiller but his day’s work.”
He denied Attong’s claims that meat was being sold in the city without proper inspection as well as his assertion that he was locked out of the market. Singh advised Attong to bring his meat frozen from the farm so that it could be sold at the market for Christmas.