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Jul 2, 2015

Vendors Complain About Condition of the Pound Yard Market

The area comprising the Pound Yard Private Market, the Michael Finnegan Market and the Bus Terminal is busy all the time. That’s the main hub where commuters come and go, and Belizeans buy fruits and vegetables for the cheapest prices – fresh off the farm. But it’s also one of the dirtiest areas in the city, as we found out recently. Summoned by calls coming in from market vendors and consumers in the area, News Five visited the area early this morning and Mike Rudon has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

This private market near Pound yard Bridge is a last option for vendors from the districts who have been cut off from the Michael Finnegan Market and the canal side. They’ve been forced to come here to sell every variety of fruits and vegetables, but as we saw this week, the condition leaves a lot to be desired. On most days, there is garbage strewn everywhere, and when it rains, it’s a mess.

 

Brian Reneau

Brian Reneau, Consumer

“I think the market inna very deplorable condition mein. Dey vendors pay their money every week and government hafto send Health Inspectors een ya. Yu see lotta dirt and stench all over the place. This noh humane. This noh humane.”

 

Javier Cocom

Javier Cocom, Consumer

“When I go and come from San Pedro I pass by fu buy some fruits and thing, but looking at this whole mess ya it doesn’t give me that enticing thing to buy food…I just buy vegetables and thing because to me it’s not healthy. So I guess that the proper authorities need to look into it and do something.”

 

As we told you, these vendors really have nowhere else to go in the city, but they recognize that business is being affected by the deplorable condition of the market. So who’s responsible for keeping the place clean? These vendors are. They pay a hefty fee for rent, but that doesn’t include garbage collection. And a lot of that garbage, apparently, is being generated by the buses which share the compound.

 

Market Vendor (Translated)

“When we first came here and we were the only ones here, when we left we would take our garbage in our trucks to the dump and all this area would be clean. The problem here is that the bus operators don’t collaborate. The area with the buses always has a lot of garbage. When they come from the north all of them bring their garbage here. It will take the owner, the vendors and the bus operators to keep this place clean. If we keep it clean, and the garbage comes from there, they will bring it here. On Fridays when most of us are leaving, all of this is clean. But most of the garbage comes from there.”

 

Emert Michaels

And it’s affecting the bottom line of these vendors.

 

Emert Michaels, Consumer

“When I enter the place I get wah smell…you know weh I mean? There are food vendors around here, and even for our personal health as customers I think it’s very unsafe. Look at the place. I don’t know if the place concerns City Council or who it concerns, but I think better could be done.”

 

Mari

Mari, Market Vendor (Translated)

“Look…garbage affects all these business here inside the market but you know something…a lot of the garbage comes from outside. A lot of people that come off the street throw garbage in here. All of us work here, and we can pay for garbage to be thrown away, but what good is that if we do it, another does it, but others don’t do it. That is the problem affecting our business.”

 

So those are the concerns, but what’s the solution? None of the vendors seems absolutely sure. They’re willing to pay to get their garbage hauled away, but they’re also asking for the managers of the facility to get involved in finding a way forward.

 

Market Vendor

Market Vendor (Translated)

“If City Council woulda do it ih woulda betta because then yu woulda gat wah day or two days when City Council goh and ker the garbage fu di people, ih woulda betta because da noh like dey gat someplace fu ker it. Yu undastand mi? Den rememba garbage yu hafto have some garbage collector fu come clean up di place.”

 

Market Vendor

“It affects us because most of the people want to buy in somewhere that’s clean, but we can’t fight that because the bus operators aren’t pressured. If there was pressure from anywhere for us selling here to keep it clean, but also them…but there’s nobody pressuring them.”

 

Mari (Translated)

“That all of us become united, and all of us take care of our garbage. Everybody can put their garbage is a bag or sack and all of us can be united so that we have a clean market.”

 

Most of the vendors we met today pay fifteen dollars per day to sell at this location, and many of them sell six days a week. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

We were informed by some vendors today that they have been called into a meeting with the owners of the private market to, hopefully, deal with the situation.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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