Fish Vendors defy management
February 17, 2006

Fish Vendors defy management

Vendors at the Fish Market at Little Tokyo were up in arms last Friday and defied an order by management to close the market at 5 p.m.

Usually the market closes at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays, however earlier in the week they received notice that commencing February 10, the market would close at 5 p.m.

The vendors protested that this new measure would deny them sale during peak time, since many customers purchase fish at that time of the evening for the weekend. They also expressed dissatisfaction that this was done without consulting them.{{more}}

The vendors complained that recently the price to keep fish overnight had been increased to $10 per box, and if their fish did not get sold before closing time, this spells a significant loss for them since they have to pay an additional $20 next morning to rent the scale and stall.

“If I bring out 200 pounds of fish and all ain’t sell, I have to come back and pay to keep them again. We are buying Tuna for $4 a pound and selling for $5 and if we have to pay $20 for the scale and pay $10 per box it come like we ain’t making nothing and we catching cold in we hand. We have to stand up whole day in there without sit down,” said Austin Cupid, a vendor of 31 years.

Suzette Mason, another vendor expressed dissatisfaction with the treatment that is meted out to the vendors.

She claimed that vendors are suspended from the market if they question management.

“I feel as if I am in jail…you’re doing your own business and you getting suspend,” said Mason.

“You can’t even talk too hard inside the market. He want to insult you, he alone could talk and you can’t talk,” she added.

On Monday, February 12, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said he had been told that there were some problems at the market and he had asked consultant Dr. Rudy Matthias to give him a report on the matter.

He promised to have Cabinet deal with the issues in the report while he is out of the state on Government business in Cuba.

“I want to assure the fisherfolk the government sees the industry as a critical pillar. I’m not going to stand askance,” the Prime Minister noted.”