Market vendors welcome private pest control initiative By Nigel Williams
Stabroek News
November 12, 2003

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The Stabroek and Bourda markets will soon benefit from private pest-control services from a local organisation which has already secured the necessary clearance from the Town Clerk of the Mayor and City Council.

Town Clerk Beulah Williams confirmed to this newspaper yesterday that she had received a request from the pest-control organisation and offered her support.

She said while the development was not discussed at the level of the Mayor and City Council she had no objection to it, noting that it was a good initiative and if well-managed could develop into a successful project.

But she added that the decision on whether the service was implemented rested with the vendors and not the city's administration, since the vendors would have to pay for it.

However, she stressed that at present the M&CC had a sanitation programme for all of the markets. Williams admitted that service was not the best, but said it had been providing some level of sanitation for the vendors.

Compton Sealey is the director of the organisation, which is still in the process of being registered. In an interview with this newspaper, he said that the pest control service would be provided for stalls in and around the markets.

He said the service would include spraying stalls and general public areas for cockroaches, ants, centipedes, rats and other pests.

Sealey said that the service would be of a higher quality than what was currently being provided by the M&CC and treatments would be repeated every eight to ten weeks.

According to him, stallholders would be required to pay between $500 and $1,500 per service. He said, too, that documentation and receipts would be provided.

Sealey told this newspaper that his organisation had already begun promoting its service in the markets and had secured a number of clients.

He said the other city markets would be tackled in the near future, but for now his organisation was concentrating on the two main ones.

Asked about Sealey's initiative, Clerk of Markets Schulder Griffith said the Markets Cleansing Unit and Sealey would now have to sit down and work out the arrangements for him to service the vendors' stalls. Griffith pointed out that much of his work would have to be done on Sundays or in the evenings when the markets were closed.

Asked whether the M&CC would continue its sanitation programme, Griffith said yes, noting that Sealey's programme could not prevent the city from doing what it was obligated to do. He said the city's active cleansing programme was done quarterly.

Sealey said he hoped to work closely with the M&CC in running his programme. According to him, the city's present programme could not adequately deal with the pests around the markets.

He noted that during the day and at night scores of rats and mice could be seen running around the markets. He added that during the nights the situation was worse.

Moreover, according to Sealey, very often vendors' stalls were exposed to these pests. "Not that they don't look after their things, but the pests are so much that no one man could adequately control them."

He told this newspaper that once the programme started vendors were guaranteed a regular and high-quality service.

Meanwhile, Stabroek News visited both markets recently and spoke to a few vendors on Sealey's plans.

One vendor at Stabroek market said she welcomed the plan, adding that she has had to contend with rats ripping open bags of rice and other containers in her stall. The woman acknowledged that the M&CC was doing its part in pest control, but felt more could be done.

The woman said that apart from rats her stall was sometimes infested with cockroaches.

Her fellow stallholder, Javid Asif said he was happy that some one was actually going to provide pest control services for the markets. Asif said Sealey had made previous attempts to start the programme, but had encountered a number of difficulties causing some vendors to distrust him.

Asked to comment, Sealey said he was sorry for the past mistakes and assured that these would not crop up in his second effort. He explained that he had not sought permission from the Town Clerk in his first attempt, which was one of the problems that caused the programme to be suspended.

At Bourda Market stallholders were also happy about Sealey's initiative. One man said he was very anxious for the programme to get going, but was cautious, saying Sealey had caused a lot of confusion the last time. The man said his beef stall was from time to time invaded by rats and cockroaches and he would welcome Sealey's efforts.