Some fisherfolk operating on the country’s eastern coastline feel forgotten by local authorities and are becoming increasingly restless about deteriorating working conditions.
Fish vendors and other stakeholders at the Consett Bay, St John facility say they have been disadvantaged by frequent water outages, which have been occurring as often as every two weeks. They also highlighted numerous other issues preventing them from working efficiently and in a clean environment.
Voicing their concerns anonymously for fear of being labeled “complainers”, they told Barbados TODAY, operations at the small facility have slowed down and cleanliness placed in jeopardy because of the problems.
The outages, which have been occurring for almost a year, happened as often as four times in one month, reportedly over a faulty pipe. One female worker said she is often forced to leave the facility and take a long trek home simply to use the bathroom.
In addition, a glass freezer used to store and freeze fish overnight has not been functioning well, forcing workers to carry home their fish, disadvantaging those lacking the capacity to move large quantities of fish.
Workers are also peeved at an abundance of abandoned boats being housed at the facility. In the hurricane season, the nearly two dozen vessels are reportedly beginning to harbor mosquitoes and vermin.
While Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey could not be reached for comment on the matter; the Minister has been extremely vocal about his mission to have fisher folk operating under more desirable conditions.
Earlier this year, upgrades were made to the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex and Humphrey said improvements were planned for all the island’s markets. During the estimates debate in late February, he promised Member of Parliament for St John Charles Griffith that upgrades specifically for Consett Bay would be made in short order.
In addition, Humphrey has warned that derelict boats would be removed from the country’s boatyards if owners did not take the initiative.