The Regional Health and Emergency Committee (RHEC) of Region Ten is miffed that the advice it gave to the Mayor and Town Council of Linden regard the opening of the municipal markets has not been accepted.
“The RHEC Committee had discussed the matter several times at their thrice-weekly meetings at which the Chairman of RHEC was mandated to pen a correspondence to M&TC formally expressing its concern and the need to act expeditiously,” the Committee said in a statement yesterday.
The Committee claimed that Mayor, Waneka Arrindell, responded that the M&TC will make every effort to sanitize the markets which will remain as it is, open every day of the week, contrary to the RHEC’s recommendations.
“It is clear that the issue of closing the markets for three days to maximise social distancing was not taken on board,” the statement noted.
It was revealed that the Mayor indicated that her council has sought to do some sanitization, stating that a number of places have been sanitized. However, on the issue of market days she didn’t respond, only stating that the markets are a main source of income for the council.
Regional Chairman, Renis Morian, via the statement, expressed disappointment at the Mayor’s actions taking into account that she was one of the persons from the inception who had suggested a number of stringent measures to be adopted by the town in combating the disease.
“I am lost as to the Mayor’s response as they seem not to understand the depth and extent of their refusal to close the markets. The markets cannot be so important that people’s lives and safety do not matter and the Council should be held accountable and responsible for their inaction on the issue,” Morian said.
Head of the RHEC, Orrin Gordon, echoed similar sentiments arguing that there is no great amount of revenue that can be lost from closing the market. He said that while he understands that revenue is of paramount importance, the Mayor and her Council should remain cognizant that immediate and stringent action has to be taken as residents’ lives and safety are at risk with the continued non-monitoring of the markets where persons feel free to congregate in larger than provided for numbers.
“I can tell you that there is no significant amount of revenue that comes in from the market where we observe persons in large numbers drinking hence, I don’t understand why the Council has not sought to proceed with the recommendations to close the markets on alternate days and ensure the markets are sanitized properly,” he stated.
President of the Linden Chamber of Commerce, Victor Fernandes stressed that all the committee seeks to do is to ensure that non-essential activities/services are not permitted especially considering the heavy drinking and large crowds that gather in the markets to drink.
“I believe that the Council is seeking sympathy from the vendors and workers so when we (RHEC) take action and forced closure of the markets they may use it as an excuse for being unable to pay employees but they must be cognizant that we are seeking to take preventive actions that help our residents’ wellbeing,” he said.
The Committee, however, expressed the view that if the infection numbers increase in Region Ten that the Mayor and her Council’s inert response would be dubbed as contributory.
“There is no solid reason why the markets cannot be closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays with it opening on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays as in the long run we are seeking to save lives and preserve people’s health but it is obvious that the agenda is different for the Mayor and Town Council,” the committee reiterated.
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