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Butcher Terry Gibson. (iWN file photo)
Butcher Terry Gibson. (iWN file photo)
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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, April 8, IWN – The two butchers still selling meat at the temporary market on the Reclamation Site say business has declined significantly over the last seven years because of the unsafe and unsanitary conditions there.

“The drains are filthy. … They are using outside at the back there as a washroom. If you go around there, you can’t stand the scent,” Rodney Gibson told I-Witness News on Friday.

His comments came one month after Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, in response to a question from Opposition parliamentarian, Daniel Cummings, admitted to Parliament that there are “sanitary issues” where the butchers ply their trade, even as some improvement were made the to facility.

A man walks along the alleyway leading to the temporary meat market in Kingstown on Friday, April 5, 2013. Butcher say the area is unsanitary and unsafe.
A man walks along the alleyway leading to the temporary meat market in Kingstown on Friday, April 5, 2013. Butcher say the area is unsanitary and unsafe.

The butchers were moved to the temporary market because of a fire at the Meat Market.

“Seven years now! And it hurts my heart to know that Canada gave us that and the abattoir,” Gibson further said.

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The butchers on Friday gave I-Witness News a tour of the facility. A garbage littered drain, which is covered with a grill, runs through a section of the area where meat is sold, the bathroom is untidy, and the area reeks of urine.

Gibson said the other eight butchers who operated from the temporary facility have stopped selling there.

More shops can be opened in the building, generating money for the Government, Gibson further said.

“But they (the public) are afraid because a set of cocaine smokers and weed smokers right there and they are threatening to rob people and all sort of things,” he said of the alleyway to the market.

Persons wanting to access the meat market via the Solidarity Inc. Car Park, have just ten minutes to buy their meat, before they are charged for parking.

Gibson told I-Witness News that he is selling about a quarter of the meat that he sold before the relocation.

A view of the temporary meat market in Kingstown.
A view of the temporary meat market in Kingstown.

“I used to sell two cattle’s — sometimes two and a half. [Now,] sometimes I sell half a cattle a day. … The customers don’t want to come down here to buy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Terry Cibson, Rodney’s nephew and former employer, told I-Witness News that the temporary relocation should not have lasted so long.

He also complained about the unsanitary condition and the sale of drugs in the area.

“… there are people all there selling marijuana. They are coming right there and urinate and all that. Sometimes, you come here on mornings, you have to be washing away filth and all that,” Terry said.

“We should have done move out of here years [ago]. They tell we they [were] bringing us here temporarily; but this is past temporary, we are here about seven years…

“We have gone from selling six, seven cattle to can’t sell one,” he said.

Terry Gibson complained about declining sales at the temporary meat market.
Terry Gibson complained about declining sales at the temporary meat market.

Terry said that when he operated from the original location, business was so good that he often had to eat his breakfast and lunch together between 2 and 3 p.m.

“Man ah drop sleep over here,” he said of the current location.

Terry says he has to reduce his fulltime staff at the meat market to two — down from six, and now has two butchers at his slaughterhouse. There was originally six.

He spoke of the national slaughtering facility that is to be built as part of the Banana Accompanying Measures but said he wants the Government to fix the original meat market until such time.

Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, told Parliament on March 11 that work was carried out on the temporary meat market in December 2012.

The main access way to the temporary meat market in Kingstown.
The main access way to the temporary meat market in Kingstown.

The works comprised painting of the customer service area, replacing of grill on the floor, the cleaning and repairing of hangers for meat, repairing of pipes and other fittings, repairs of pipes for the washroom facilities, and cleaning of the refrigeration facility and of the general surrounding areas of the market.

“There are several sanitary issues at the current location which … have arisen primarily because of activities of persons who illegally dump garbage on the premises of the meat market. And the area is also being … used for less than desirable purposes,” Caesar further told Parliament.

He said the ministries of Health and Agriculture will continue to partner “to ensure that the requisite health protocols are followed”.

He further said that he had received the plans for the construction of a new meat market.

“But I also want to note that this discussion must take place within the broader discussion of the plans and possibilities for a national slaughtering facility which will be financed by the Banana Accompanying Measures. And the sum of 1.5 million euros … have already been allocated to deal with this issue,” he said.

6 replies on “Butchers losing business at unsanitary market in Kingstown”

  1. Over the last decade we (The world), has seen an increase in what is refers to as Food borne diseases.These are diseases that are transmitted to us during manipulation of ( food) meat or meat products as well as by consumption of the same. We have heard of outbreak of Salmonelosis and E.coli in various parts of the world, as a result of contamination of food at various points of the food chain. The presence of Poor sanitary conditions in and around place where meat and meat products are sold and consume must be looked at seriously since that such a condition may facilitate an outbreak of DISEASES. THE SANITARY CONDITION IN SUCH A LOCATION MUST BE ENHANCE.

  2. The entire island is a mess. Kingstown and other towns need more garbage bins, to collect the waste. The sanitary department should go to every town and educate folks on how to make compost of garbage and use it as organic fertilizer. The process can save money and make money, since folks can plant small crops for consumption or sale. Both the agriculture department and the sanitary department get off the arses and do something positive.
    People still throw any and every thing in the drains. Drains should be use to remove access rain water and should be covered, so folks won’t use them as a garbage dumps. Gone are the days when one man with a donkey and cart would clean all the drains and the streets. The new garbage pickup does not address the cleanliness of the villages and towns. It only takes care of the garbage from homes. It doesn’t handle the mess left by street dogs which make the streets very unhealthy.
    The garbage was handled much better when there were town boards in every town and village. Even the beaches were looked after. Here again Ralph promised to reinstate the town board system, but later made all excuses to drop the scheme. Now everything is handled from Kingstown and his office. When a bulk goes out in the country one has to go to town to get it replaced.
    There is another stupid issue that involves the resource centers. The education department is handling access to the certain areas. Why isn’t there a small group or the town clerk (if only they will do their job) given this simple task.
    Is it any wonder the entire island stinks.

  3. Where is Clayton Burgin in this discussion? Shouldn’t the Ministry of Health be the primary lead on all things being sanitary? Given what is being said in the above article; its clear the Ministry of Health and its affiliates have betrayed the trust of the public to be the gatekeepers of food safety and the maintenance of proper public health standards. I can only say that this is downright negligence and an utter disregard to the plight of these “meat workers” and their squalid surroundings. Had the Health Inspectors been doing their job, such a facility would have been shut down immediately. It would be interesting to hear the excuses from the Ministry, especially coming from Clayton “Why should I be concerned?” Burgin.

    Kingstown needs a face lift, no wonder, Kingstown is getting pan for being stink and dirty. Maybe its not a bad idea of demolishing that site and replacing it with some greenery. I wonder where the “NATIONAL SLAUGHTERING FACILITY” is to be located…not the same place, right? And when Saboto says “used for less than desirable purposes,”…I am thinking, wait a minute, the Police Station is just across the street, so why is the police not patrolling these areas on a regular basis so as to deter delinquent behavior? But I guess they are too busy shooting each other and beating minors to near death?

    By the way, national slaughtering facility? WTF..yo Sabato, there is a word for such a facility…c’mon now, you not in f’king grade school,..the word is ARBITER, no wait..its ABBOT…no no…ahh…its its…ABORT? ARBITRON? ABATE? you know what, we’ll do it live… WE’LL DO IT LIVE! F**K IT! DO IT LIVE… look, I’ll write it and we’ll do it live! F’king thing SUCKS!

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