Now that the retail sector is open, vendors at the San Fernando Central Market are calling for the reopening of the market on Sundays, saying they are fed up with losing thousands of dollars in perishable goods.
Sunday activity at the market has been stopped since March last year to facilitate sanitisation by the San Fernando City Corporation.
However, vendors say this closure has hit them hard in their pockets, as every week they face spoilage of goods that are leftover from the Saturday sales.
Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday, vendor Marsha Dookoo said, “It is no longer feasible to sell in this market because we are losing too much. Goods are expensive right now and since they closed us down on a Sunday, the goods are spoiling on our hands.”
She said because of police ticketing and wrecking, not many customers come to the Central Market. Some vendors have even left the market, opting instead to sell on the roadsides where they do not have to pay $45 per day for a stall.
“Sundays used to be our busiest days and they took that from us. We want to know if they can make some arrangements to have the market reopened for us on a Sunday. If they want, they can close on a Monday but allow us to sell in the market on Sundays so we can make an honest dollar,” Dookoo said.
Another vendor, Reene Ogeer, said the number of customers had dwindled in the recent past because of the constant police ticketing in front of the market, as well as wrecking.
“The wrecker is working from Monday to Saturday. If they see a vehicle parked where it is not supposed to park, they wreck it. On this side, people cannot even park to make a little market to come in for ten minutes, so who is coming to buy a $5 or a $10 worth of market only to get a $1,000 ticket? Nobody!” she said.
Vendor Visham Mahabir said the closure of the market was hampering business activity on Mucurapo Street.
“They closed the market on a Sunday for no apparent reason. They have police officers and wreckers up and down this street. When I have to bring in goods, my workers cannot park outside and bring in the produce. They have to pay for a park and then offload the goods and walk towards the market,” he said.
He added, “We want the mayor to ease up on the wrecking and put systems in place for people to come back out to the market to shop, reopen the market on a Sunday.”
Customers at the market said they too wanted a return of the Sunday market.
“If they reopen it, we will get fresher goods and this will help the poor people too because it is a lot of money that is wasted when goods spoil. We think the vendors should be allowed to make an extra dollar on a Sunday when most people are in need of market goods,” Jamilla Clarke said.
Attempts to contact Mayor Junia Regrello and Chief Executive Officer Indarjit Singh via Whatsapp and telephone were unsuccessful yesterday.