“I personally went and removed a pork vendor from selling for the day on Friday. I warned him before I went down there. He was selling pork among dry goods and vegetables. It is an affront to people who don’t eat pork. I am sure even Local Government minister (Kazim Hosein) would respect my decision. Hosein does not eat pork.”
That was Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation chairman Paul Leacock’s response to an e-mail about vendors alleging they were threatened and forcibly removed and prevented from selling at the Tunapuna Market last Friday.
While vendors claimed conditions at Tunapuna market were also “unsanitary,” Leacock also said the market “was not unsanitary, and, Public Health Officers (PHO) often visit the market.”
An excerpt from the e-mail said: “There was no letter given. They don’t want us selling outside because all meats are to be sold inside. But inside there is no space for us and it is unsanitary. Members of the Corporation accompanied by over three jeeps of police ran the innocent citizens of this country and prevented them from getting money to feed their children today again!”
It added: “Vendors, some who have been there over 30 years and never missed a payment, were removed from their place of work. Market vendors claim the market is too unsanitary. They will lose out on sales if they stay because people won’t buy food from a place that is unsanitary.”
Pork vendor warned
Shedding some more light on the Friday removal, Leacock said: “Alderman Ishmael, who is a member of the Opposition, warned him and another gentleman about selling pork. They moved the pork vendor for one day. On the next available market day, they moved right back. When they had registration for market day, I spoke to all vendors. I told them they had to comply with the by-laws.”
Leacock added, “By resolution of Council, I went with the police and removed him. We put the pork vendor out of the market for one day. Not permanently. I am quite prepared to speak to the media or minister to justify what I did.” Efforts to contact Hosein proved futile since he was at a meeting.