Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP) workers from the Albion and New Amsterdam areas along with prisoners within the region were yesterday cleaning the Port Mourant Market in an effort to ensure the facility is back in operation at the earliest.
According to information gathered, if the same team of persons assists today and continues to clean the market then it should be back in operation by tomorrow.
The market had been shuttered as a result of not being cleaned since Saturday last owing to a shortage of labourers. The Port Mourant Neighbourhood Dem-ocratic Council (NDC) which is responsible for the market had claimed that the Local Government Commission (LGC) has been dragging its feet with regard to employing the necessary labourers.
When contacted yesterday on the matter, Secretary of the LGC, Nickolai Pryce told Stabroek News that a press statement would be sent out on the matter.
Chairman of the NDC, Ishwar Narinesammy in an interview with Stabroek News had explained that the Port Mourant Market requires a specific amount of workers to ensure it remains in a clean state.
He had said that the market should have a clerk and two revenue collectors, three security guards and four labourers during the week with six labourers on the weekend.
However, there is presently only one security guard and one revenue collector. The chairman said that he and the overseer have repeatedly informed the LGC about the need to employ persons but nothing permanent has ever been done.
He disclosed that the commission had told him to publish the vacancies and forward the applicants’ information to them which he did but they have never facilitated or visited to oversee the interviewing of the applicants so as to employ persons to fill the positions.
Stabroek News was told that there were two permanent labourers and after verbal permission was given by Pryce, two other labourers were hired temporarily to ensure the market is cleaned and kept in an operational state.
However, after the two temporary labourers were not paid although they worked from September 11, since it was claimed that they were not hired through the correct process, they have refused to stay on the job since there is no certainty of them gaining permanent employment.
According to Narinesammy, “When we conclude the pay sheet and send it to local government New Amsterdam, they said that they cannot approve the pay sheet. We then communicate with the Local Government Commission and informed them what New Amsterdam told us and Mr Pryce said he would look into it but he said right now there is some rollover and he can’t sanction nothing because the commission reprimand him due to the fact that Orin McDougall [an independent councilor at the NDC] went there and make some reports of harassment and wrongful employment of staff.”
Stabroek News was also told that after the two permanent labourers were told that their workload would increase they stayed away from the job and after being absent for a total of five days, they subsequently lost their employment.
As of yesterday afternoon, Narinesammy was still of the view that the LGC needed to speed up the process of employing persons or release the payment for the temporary staff so that they can get the work done and ensure the same issue does not arise next week after market is held on the weekend.