Around 15 vendors operating at the Chaguanas Market are demanding space inside the facility to conduct business. The market reopened Friday following a three-day closure to sanitise the facility.
Under the new operations, vendors are debarred from selling on the corridors and occupying spaces that can create cramped conditions that would make it easier for the COVID-19 virus to spread.
Irate vendors told Guardian Media that they too have to earn a living and were being treated unfairly.
Guardian learned that some vendors were refusing stalls and preferred to sell on the corridors.
Fresh produce vendor Hardaye Nerajan said she has been selling at the facility for the last 20 years in the same spot.
“When this market was built it didn’t have sufficient stalls for everybody and certain places on the lay-by the market clerk assigned to people over the years they have always tried to move us and situation come back to where it was before. The last mayor (Gopaul Boodhan) tried to move us again, no place for us. He said he would have marked out the place for us to sell in an orderly fashion. He didn’t do it because at the time he said the workers was striking at the borough. We understand this pandemic, we seeing all over the world what is taking place, people are dying, disease is spreading. We are willing to cooperate in the borough to see that this pandemic doesn’t spread in the Central area. But at the same time we are farmers, we are food producers we need an income.”
Neranjan also knocked the Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambharat for not getting any relief for farmers. She said incentives are being announced for hotels while farmers are being left in the dark.
Other vendors selling doubles and Indian sweets complained that they should not have been relocated to an area that was once used to sell fresh crabs and meat. Fresh beef Vendor Ashton Ali said the system was working all right for customers but some vendors were displaced. Ali said they meat vendors were happy that the borough fixed the chiller a few months ago and are desirous of having the abattoir re-opened.
Consumers were happy for the free space. Joey Mc Millian said he felt comfortable shopping in the market since the area no longer has too much-cramped spaces where customers have to make physical contact.
Mayor Vandana Mohit said by Monday all vendors should have a space to operate. Mohit said some vendors have gotten a stall but are still demanding to peddle their goods from the corridor. Mohit confirmed that 15 persons have been displaced. She said a number of street vendors also stormed the market in a ditch to grab a spot at the market. Mohit said the moves were made to protect the citizens of Chaguanas. She said many are unaware of the seriousness of the Covid 19 disease and its implications.
Mohit said, “These are my people I would not leave them stranded.”
Mohit said persons selling doubles would be relocated to their old area.
“At this point are faced with a pandemic. We have had a second death reported in T&T and we need to take precautionary measures.”