The Kingstown Fish Market, which is managed by the state-owned Agricultural Input Warehouses, loses about EC$30,000 a month, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said Tuesday, as he justified the increased fees imposed on fish vendors.
Vendors at the market entered a third day of protest, on Wednesday, saying that the revised fees would force them to sell fish at EC$15 a pound, up from EC$10, making it unaffordable for poor people.
However, Gonsalves told a press conference in Kingstown, on Tuesday, that the higher vending fees are “not unreasonable” and there is no reason to increase fish prices to EC$15.
He, however, said that the market should consider reducing the landing tolls imposed on seafood.
“The fish market loses money every month. The dance can’t pay for the light,” Gonsalves said, adding that the draft audited accounts indicated that the market lost EC$300,000 last year.
He said there has not been an increase in prices for goods and services at the market for over 10 years.
The fish market has increased the cleaning room fee by 25% daily, moving from EC$15 to EC$20.
“The reason for this is there is an increase in the price of water expenses and cleaning and sanitisation supplies such as chlorine, chlorine tablets, bleach and other detergents,” the prime minister said.
He said that the drains also need to be flushed often because of the increased amount of fish scales, especially those coming from the red fish.
The processing fee, which was EC$75 an hour is now EC$100, “as a result of the increase in electricity due to the operation being done in a temperature-controlled environment”.
Vendors will pay double for water which has moved from 10 cents to 20 cents per gallon “because of increased cost paid by the company for water usage”.
The landing toll for in-shore pelagic fish — like jacks, ballyhoo, robin, sprat and dadger — as well as other demersal — such as crevalle, old wife and snoop — has increased by 50%, moving from 10 cents to 15 cents per pound.
The same increase applies to seine-caught tuna and skipjack.
The landing toll for fish like snapper, hinds and butter fish has also increased by half, moving from 20 cents to 30 cents a pound, as is also the case for off-shore pelagic like dolphin, tuna, skip jack, and king fish.
The storage fee for lobster has increased by one-quarter, from 40 cents to 50 cents per pound daily — the same as for conch.
The storage fee for a big box was EC$15 a night. It is now EC$20. Half box has moved from EC$8 to EC$10.
For ice, vendors used to pay EC$8.70 for a small bag. They now have to pay $11.
Half box of ice has moved from EC$11.60 to EC$13, while a block of ice is now $15, up from EC$11.75.
Vending ice in the stall has also increased 25%, from EC$15 to EC$20 a box.
A bag of ice has moved from EC$16.25 to EC$20 while ice for fish storage has moved from EC$20 to EC$25.
“Ice box off the compound” has moved from EC$30 to EC$35 and a bucket of ice is now EC$7, up from EC$5.80.
“The sale for the ice has gone up because the electricity cost has gone up. That is the principal basis,” Gonsalves said.
A disposable hat, which was EC$1.30 each, is now EC$2 each.
Some prices have remained unchanged while others have been reduced,
The black fish room rental remains at $10 per person daily. The counter fee remains at
EC$30 a day and gilling fee is unchanged, at EC$10 per person.
The price of a cutlass file remains at $10 each.
The docking fee remains at EC$10 nightly, while the docking fee for small boats has been reduced from EC$30 to EC$20.
The grey tubs rental has been halved from EC$50 to EC$25, as the fish market has stopped renting out the bins for transportation of fish to the Grenadines.
The prime minister said that the EC$25 is now charged for fishers who rent the bins for overnight use on the compound.
“The purpose is for fishing vessels that return with their catch later than when the market is in operation.”
Gonsalves said that the revised fees will generate EC$75,000 annually.
“So, you are still losing, even when you put up these, over $200,000, based on last year’s figures,” the prime minister said.
“The truth is this: what I am saying here should have been spoken about by the staff at the fish market. You didn’t have to wait on Patrice Jobe, who is on holidays, the CEO. But somebody at the fish market should have talked about this, what I am talking about,” Gonsalves said.
“You don’t just tell people, ‘Well keep noise if you want’, or words to that effect. You don’t function like that. In fact, I am going to ask them if, on the landing toll, in particular, whether they could reduce the extent here for some of the types of fish. I am not saying it is not reasonable.”
Tek sum a de 600 million fo de port an economize some ah de gov’t ministers traveling expenses. Sea if yo cyan wok it out.
The PM says the “dance can’t pay for the lights”. Who is the one charging for the lights?
Times are really tough worldwide and they are going to get worse. SVG government has shown us that they will never make any sacrifices in such times. It will all come down on the backs of the “working poor”, until it become either detrimental to work, or pass the government imposed increases onto the consumer.
NO! The government DOES NOT LOSE! It is just that they do not get as much as they think they should get. IF THEY ARE LOSING MAYBE IT IS BECAUSE THE TERRIBLE CITY PLANNING OF KINGSTOWN AND TERRIBLE GOVERNMENT POLICY THAT BUILT SUCH BUILDINGS ON PRIME REALESTATE. JUST LIKE THE VEGETABLE MARKET.
SVG needs a Lee Quan Yoo instead of greedy buro rats that understand nothing about macro economics that fit reality of the Caribbean culture.
Such a leader will come to the Caribbean one day, but thus far I see no leader in SVG that has the ability to think outside the box. The current leader obviously does everything wrong and only makes things worse by making excuses. Think of what Bruce Lee said:
“To hell with circumstances. I create opportunities.”
Yes! The biggest question is: Who is 30,000 EC poorer each month? How? Why? If so, whose fault is that? Pass the buck! Always point the finger of blame at someone else. Whose VERY BAD policies caused this and indeed causes most problems in SVG.
Keep pointing the finger and if the people wake up, see who they are going to dip their finger for in the next election.
The national parrot,? yo ha fo talk on every and anything? Bato say yo na ha no moral authority fo talk fo him. Ah we want fo hear bout yo accused
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