Thursday, December 2

Vendors Blame BAC for Failing to Address Sanitary Issues at Fish Market

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By Kebba Mamburay

Vendors, especially those selling commodities around the Ice-Plant at the Brikama Market, have blamed the Brikama Area Council (BAC) for its ineffectiveness to keeping the place clean.

The filthy environment around the ice plant in Brikama and the pungent smell coming from the area has forced vendors to voice out their anger against the Brikama Area Council.

Mr Lamin Singhateh, PRO of Brikama Area Council, said the market is well taken care of by the council and they are making efforts to ensure the problems faced by vendors are solved.  

He argued that though stagnant water has always been by the ice-plant for many years, but this is mostly disposedby the council for the past years until recently when the sewer tank develop a problem.

Singhateh further stated that the council has been trying its best in making sure that the market is kept clean constantly, which is done by the council/market cleaners.

He further stated that the problem at the ice plant is not their problem, but that of the management of the ice plant, who ought to keep the place clean.

The ice-plant is operating under the mandate of the council as a legal entity; hence revenues are collected by the council from the ice-plant and vendors that sell in the area.

He said the council has tried to ensure the management of the ice-plantfish market takes charge of the place, but the management refused. He added the stagnation of water around the fish market is caused by the discharge of water from the facility.

“We are trying to solve the situation at the market, but I cannot tell you specifically when that task will be accomplished” Singhateh said.

Vendors argued that they’ve been paying tax, commonly known as “Duty” on daily basis to the council, but they are yet to see any development taking place in the area.

However, Singhateh said the markets and compounds, including businesses owe them tax.

The Manager of the Fish MarketIce-plant in Brikama, Mr. Janko Bojang, said at the moment, they do not have any immediate solution to the problems faced by the vendors aroundthe fish market. He said the stagnation of water around the fish market started in 2009 immediately after the facility commenced operation.

Bojang said the owners of the fish market are Japanese, but before the construction of the fish market, they (Japanese) thought there was a sewage system, but they later realized this was not the case.

He blamed the National Environment Agency (NEA) for not doing their job well, saying they should have come for a side visit to determine whether a fish market was fit enough to be built at the proposed location. But they did not do or say anything until after the construction of the fish marketice-plant, he said.

Bojang said they have been responsible for the cleansing and sanitary activities of the ice-plant since its inception to date.

“In most cases, we order for the sewer tank from BAC, pay for their service and give tip (money) to the tank driver for his service. BAC has not in anyway, contributed to the cleansing activities of the ice-plant. All the responsibilities fall on us (the management),” Mr. Bojang said.