Chaguanas Mayor Faaiq Mohammed

ON THE SCENE: Chaguanas Mayor Faaiq Mohammed, centre, Whitney Stevenson Hamlet of the borough’s Market and Vending Committee and Deputy Mayor Marissa Ramlogan of the Public Health Committee visit the market yesterday.

THE Chaguanas Market reopens today after two days of closure and rigorous sanitisation of the premises due to the discovery of a Covid-19 case among vendors.

The anxiously-awaited news was announced by Chaguanas Mayor Faaiq Mohammed via his Facebook page yesterday.

“The CMOH (County Medical Officer of Health) gives clearance for the Chaguanas Market to reopen on Tuesday, April 6, 2021,” Mohammed posted.

“After the CMOH gave the directive to close the market on Sunday due to a vendor testing positive for Covid-19, he has given the clearance to reopen after sanitisation exercises were conducted. All vendors and customers are advised to adhere to all Covid-19 protocols,” he added.

Mohammed did not respond to several calls but the Express got daily posts about the market situation on his Facebook page.

“Happening now, market sanitisation,” he posted yesterday.

“Out with Deputy Mayor Marissa Ramlogan, chairman of Public Health Committee, and councillor Whitney Stevenson Hamlet, chairman of Market and Vending Committee, as we continue our sanitisation exercise.”

Mohammed posted several photographs of people sanitising the market.

On Sunday, he informed burgesses that the CMOH was conducting contact tracing “and we await correspondence from them on when we can reopen”.

In a notice, he assured that the market and the streets have been sanitised every afternoon and early in the morning since the country’s first Covid-19 case in March last year.

“For those who are concerned, please note that the market is sanitised every afternoon and the streets every morning at 5 a.m. This has been routine since the first case of Covid-19 in Trinidad and Tobago. Today sanitisation continues,” he posted on Sunday.

The Express spoke to market vendors who said they were feeling both relieved and upset about the reopening.

“I am glad they are reopening so quickly but I am depressed because I left 40 boxes of Dominica zaboca (avocados) covered down with tarpaulin inside the market. By now, all them zaboca rotten. By the time they reach here from Dominica, they half-ripe,” said one vendor.

“I took those goods on consignment from somebody. He gave me them to sell and I have to pay him back a part of the sales. Now, I have to pay him back for all that without making any sales.”

Goods disappeared

Another vendor said she will be at the market early this morning to see what she could salvage.

“My lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes will be spoilt. Is two days they cover down inside the closed market.”

She said she has to purchase fresh produce to start over and borrowed $500 from a money lender.

“I have to pay him back $50 on every $100.”

Meat and pork vendors said all their goods disappeared from the market’s cold storage facility after the premises were closed and they have to start back from scratch.

Several people in the comments section under Mohammed’s Facebook posts seemed elated about the market’s reopening.

They wrote “prompt and efficient”, “great job mayor”, “excellent job”, “thank you Mr Mayor and borough workers”, “response time was on point”.

However, a few remained concerned about the sanitisation of the entire market.

“In the pictures I’m only seeing the ground floor. Hope upstairs was sanitised as well.”

One person said the police need to be more effective in their enforcement of the rules since “people not listening, bars have people liming, stores have a lot of customers and people not sanitising when entering”.

“The market is in a mess on a weekend, as well. It’s like nobody cares.”

In response, Mohammed said: “Adults should also take responsibility for themselves. They are fully aware of what they should and should not do.

“We must be a more disciplined population. We should do the right thing even when no one is there looking.”

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