Discipline and order in the market to be enforced |06 March 2023
The Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Flavien Joubert, has said that the Victoria Market is not a storage facility but a place where fish, meat, vegetables among other produce are sold.
He made the statement following a visit to the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clark Market in Victoria on Saturday along with the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Designated Minister Jean François Ferrari, to see the state of the market with the aim of finding solutions to improve the level of hygiene, including order in the way the market is being used by vendors.
This follows various complaints on hygiene issues both inside and outside the market.
Also present in the ministerial delegation were the principal secretary for Agriculture, Keven Nancy; chief executive of the Seychelles Infrastructure Agency (SIA), Jitesh Shah; the chief executive of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA), Linetta Estico; and other representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, SIA and SAA.
The delegation was met upon arrival by the market manager, Vincent Germain, who guided them on a tour of the facility which included the fruit and vegetable stalls, the fish stall, fish cleaning area, flower stalls, the butcher’s corner and the souvenir shops and the restaurant on the first floor, for licensed practitioners. The delegation also toured the outside of the market where unlicensed vendors sell their goods.
Apart from rubbish both inside and outside the market, the delegation also saw fish heads and other fish parts that had been left behind by the fishermen, including some fish that were rotting away in defrosted ice containers which were expected to be sold that day, as well as fruits and vegetables that were not stored properly and were exposed to vermin such as rats.
“There is a lack of discipline in the market. People have to understand that this place is not for storage but only a place to come and sell. The items are not being stored in the ideal condition and as seen, they are all exposed to vermin such as rats. So we have to address this issue,” said Minister Joubert, who noted that the vendors have to make sure that their designated area is clear of those goods after work to make way for disinfection and cleaning purposes.
He added that some maintenance work will also be carried out which will include fixing of the roofing that is causing leakage in some parts and some under stall cubicles for vendors to store some of their goods.
He noted that vendors should be storing their goods elsewhere and to bring only those to be sold to the market.
Given that the market is pressure cleaned three times a week, Minister Joubert said that arrangements will also be made to ensure that the market area is cleaned on a daily basis after closing hours.
He said that the ministry will be out to enforce discipline with regard to the way the market is being used and will take actions against vendors who are not obeying the rules and regulations.
Designated Minister Ferrari, who described the state of the market – both inside and outside – as deplorable given that the area is not being used properly, said that no major decision has been taken following the visit except for a couple of immediate ones among which include public health issues with regard to the rotting fish in ice containers that they were told were going to be sold that day and about which the health authority was informed.
Another health issue was perishable goods and others that were left covered on the stall tables and exposed to vermin.
Designated Minister Ferrari stated that before taking action with regard to long-term issues, they will communicate and discuss with everyone concerned so as to understand their needs and constraints before those issues are addressed.
“We have received a lot of complaints from the health authority, from the Victoria district, from tourism and we need to deal with the situation and make sure that Victoria is clean and becomes a better place for every one because at the moment there are serious issues,” Designated Minister Ferrari said.
Mr Shah said that SIA will be acting quickly on the proposals raised during the visit, especially with regard to maintenance and space, to generally improve the standard of the market for the time being, while waiting on the proposals to address long-term issues.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the ministerial delegation’s visit to the market.
Text & photos by Patrick Joubert