The straw market will open by the end of this week, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said yesterday.
“Vendors asked us not to open up when we were prepared to open last week Saturday,” he said.
“And so we obliged them. We have kept it closed for an extra week, most of the vendors are out there on the wharf. They’re doing fine but the reality is they’re going to have to go back in on Saturday when we reopen.”
The market was closed for a number of issues to be addressed, Bannister said.
Those issues included: a non-functional sprinkler system; poor lighting; blocked drains and health hazards in areas where food is sold.
Bannister said those problems have all been resolved, but there is one issue that will have to wait a few months.
“There is an added challenge that’s going to have to be addressed later in the year,” he said.
“And that challenge is that many of the vendors brought wood into the market that was termite-infested. And that has caused a serious termite challenge within the market.
“And so, at some stage when the season is slow, in August or so, we’re going to have to close for another week and the market is going to have to be tented in order to prevent further infestation of termites.”
Bannister said monitoring of the market will have to be done to ensure the straw market does not get to this point again. Additionally, he said there must be an annual maintenance schedule.
“Quite frankly, looking at what has happened this year, it is going to be critical that the Straw Market Authority meet with the vendors; and, once a year to close for a week so that the market can get the proper maintenance,” he said.
Bannister said it is still unclear what the total cost of the repairs for the straw market is.