Disgruntled butcher, Anthony Ali, says his beef went missing over the Easter weekend while the Chaguanas Market was locked down for sanitisation. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Butchers are calling on the Chaguanas Borough Corporation to investigate the theft of 160 pounds of beef from the Chaguanas Market while the facility was locked down over the weekend, because of a COVID-19 scare. 

The County Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) had ordered the market closed on Saturday after a vendor tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.  

During the lockdown, the Chaguanas market was sanitized thoroughly.  It was only re-opened today, Tuesday April 6th. 

Beef missing from the chiller

Butcher, Ashton Ali, told Guardian Media some of the vendors were allowed to remove their meat on Saturday night.  However, Ali discovered this morning that 120 pounds of beef he owns was taken from a chiller at the market. He has since reported the theft to the Chaguanas Police. He also intends to write to the Mayor, seeking compensation for his loss.

And another butcher, Anthony Wazid Ali, said he discovered 40 pounds of beef missing this morning, when he went to check his stash of beef stored in the chiller on the market’s compound.

Wazid Ali said he attempted to get his beef out of the market over the weekend but was denied. Ali said half of a beef shoulder and spareribs were stolen.

Butchers, Anthony Ali (left) and Ashton Ali (right), outside the Chaguanas Market on Tuesday. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Mayor Faaiq Mohammed has given assurances that the claims by the butchers are being investigated by Chaguanas Borough Corporation authorities.

Mayor Mohammed also has promised that the market would be sanitized every evening after the facility is closed. He admitted to Guardian Media that the borough ran out of funding to have the facility sanitized on an hourly basis, as was done in the recent past.

The stalls were empty today in the vegetable section, the area where the COVID-19 affected vendor was located and where several persons may have come into contact with that person.

Empty stalls at Chaguanas Market that were occupied by the vendors who tested COVID-19 positive. The marketwas locked down for sanitisation over the Easter weekend. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

The short lockdown hurt sales

Meanwhile, other vendors selling dry goods and vegetables said they did not suffer any losses due to theft, but rather, because of the lost business days. 

Roma Balroop, who sells salted fish and smoked herrings, said the two days loss of business affected her sales on what was expected to be one of the busier weekends of the second quarter of 2021.

Deokie Calapnath said a cat defecated on her stall during the closure of the Chaguanas Market for sanitisation over the Easter weekend. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

And Deokie Calapnath, who has been selling at the Chaguanas Market since the 1980s, said fortunately, her goods were not stolen.

Calapnath said she was turned back when she came to sell on Sunday. However, Calapnath told us the market has a large population of stray cats, who reportedly defecated on her stall over the weekend.

Wholesalers Dwayne Noel and Sookdeo Jagdeo told Guardian Media that business was slow for them with the closure of the market.  Jagdeo said sales also were slow at the facility.