The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown, on Monday took the decision to suspend the operations of five businesses in the City for various health and safety violations, with the common thread being the owners operating unregistered businesses. Four of the business folks have a three-month period to get themselves in order while another has six weeks.
The decision was taken at Monday’s statutory meeting at City Hall when four of the five operators appeared before the full Council. This is the first time, since its election, that businesspersons appeared before this Council.
Acting head of the M&CC’s Meat and Hygiene Food Department, Abiola Baker, charged Orin Isaacs and Luanna Noel, Rajkumarie Singh, Brian and Deon Carter, Nadia Singh and Peggy Hoenkirk of violating the city’s food and health codes.
Baker and Isaacs operate a soup snackette in Castello Housing Scheme, West La Penitence; Rajkumarie Singh has a food restaurant at Sheriff Street; the Carters operate a bakery and restaurant at Sophia; Nadia Singh a burger snackette at Sheriff Street; and Hoenkirk a liquor and food restaurant at Duncan Street.
None of the five businesses has the necessary documentation that would permit operation of any sort, more so a business that deals with food. Some of the outlets that are being closed have been notified since 2015. In addition, the employers and employees failed to produce valid food handlers’ certificates and Baker reports that they would prepare ready to eat foods in the unsanitary conditions using unsanitary utensils.
Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase Green allowed each of the business owners the chance to defend themselves and to tell the Council why they should not be permanently shut down. As a result of their explanations, they were given a six-week suspension pending their registration. These businesses have been operating their businesses for approximately 10 years.
Chase Green told the Council that although these businesses fall within their constituencies, they should look at the bigger picture when voting on the resolution since the wider public’s health is involved. She added that she is in no way trying to permanently close down businesses hence the reason for her suspending the operations until they can comply with the health and operational codes as set out in the laws of the municipality.
The issue of non-compliance of the regulations and bylaws governing food establishments is something that has been ongoing for years. The M&CC continues to play its role in ensuring that citizens who are purchasing fast food are consuming food that is prepared in sanitary conditions. Only recently, the M&CC held a workshop with persons who operate food business on safe food practices. They were also encouraged to get their food handlers’ certificate. (Lakhram Bhagirat)