Vendor raises stink over rotten fish
Reeling from financial losses running into hundreds of thousands of dollars, Maureen ‘Angella’ McDermott was forced to dump rotting fish on Tuesday in the wake of the resurrection of the economy after the COVID-19 Easter weekend lockdown.
McDermott was seething at her stall at the Rae Town Fishing Village in downtown Kingston on Wednesday, just waiting for someone to complain about the stink of hundreds of pounds of seafood that had gone bad over the period.
The fish vendor lamented that the security forces had stopped her while on her way to purchase ice to preserve the fish she had stored in igloos and freezers from Saturday and which needed replenishment.
But her explanation was rejected by a policeman.
By Wednesday, McDermott had already dumped the rotten fish and sanitised the area to get rid of the stink and flies. She had already invested in a new batch of fish, which was on ice, but customers were slow in coming out.
When she was reminded that the country would have to endure at least one more weekend lockdown, the veteran fish vendor was in disbelief.
“Weekend again? No, sah! Then weh we a guh do again and a half-day it a go lock down again Saturday. We have bills fi pay, you know, and is a licensed business me a run,” she said.
Despite her own financial hit, McDermott expressed concern for auxiliary workers fisherfolk who scale and gut fish or perform janitorial duties.
“The little workers them can’t make nutten at all. Them have people to take care, them pickney and them bills and other things,” she said.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries had issued an advisory explaining that registered farmers and fishers, with ID, were exempt from restrictions during the lockdown period and would be allowed to visit their farms in order to feed livestock or venture out to sea.
However, it is not clear whether the exemption extends to other categories of workers in the industry, most of whom operate in the informal economy..
Meanwhile, a chef who has served up jerked chicken and soup at a popular location in downtown Kingston for the past decade, is also hurting from the lockdown.
As he seasoned chicken on Wednesday, he longed for the day when his micro business was at full hilt with at least four employees.
“If me used to sell 10 chickens, a five a sell now, so it affect me drastically,” the chef, who requested that his name not be published, said.
“There is nutten we can do out it because if the Government say we fi lock down, we haff lock down even though bills still haffi pay - light, water, and so forth.”