A case of “one bad apple spoils the bunch” applies to the coconut vendors along the Warrens, St Michael stretch of the ABC Highway.
Vendors have been served with notices by environmental officers informing them to removing their coconut shells after making each day’s sale.
Coconut vendor Andy Andrews informed Barbados TODAY that the reputation of “a few bad apples” was affecting the vending business. Andrews who has been a coconut vendor for nearly 25 years said that he engaged in hygienic practices and properly disposed of his refuse.
The notices clearly did initiate a change as Andrews loaded the remains of a day’s work onto his Daihatsu freighting truck, meanwhile, another coconut vendor stationed nearby cleaned his work station at different intervals during the day.
“When you done work take up the shells and go long about your business, you done got the money already…and a lot of people are complaining about the shells that they are leaving. If you leave shells out here for days and the rain fall the water go into it, it is going to smell and mosquitos who like those things will breed,” Andrews explained.
“I make sure that I clean up every time because I know other people are selling there too . . . When you finish work, clean up the mess. It is like you cook you share your food and you eat, you wash your plate when you done,” he continued.
Andrews noted that there was no shortage of coconuts on the island but indicated that bad practices of some coconut vendors such as poor waste disposal, bad hygiene and stealing were giving others a bad reputation. He suggested that as the Government sought to standardize coconut production, further training be given to the vendors.
Over in Tweedside Road, St Michael, coconut vendor Selwyn Maynard could be seen picking up debris and shells in his selling area. Maynard told Barbados TODAY that he abided by the regulations, noting that the National Coconut Stakeholders Platform (NCSP) instructed the vendors of the ramifications of any bad practices. Maynard contended that vendors who did not abide by the law should feel the weight of the law.
“If you don’t remove it yourself it is littering!” he exclaimed, adding “the rats, the mosquitos, everything is unsightly and you really got to clean up for truth”.
Principal Environmental Officer of the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic, Euroline Welch-Drakes explained vendors were served with notices after warnings by inspectors in the area. The environmental officer responsible for the Warrens district, told Barbados TODAY that health inspectors were following the Health Services Regulations Act which ensured the safety of public consumption and in the event there was no change coconut vendors could be penalized facing up to one-year imprisonment or a fine $5,000 or both.