The National, Wednesday 19th of February, 2014
With an environment conducive for the re-emergence of cholera, Madang businessman and former health minister, Sir Peter Barter is calling on town authorities to quickly resolve the market issue.
In an interview last week, Sir Peter said the town council with the added funding of K1.3 million from National Fisheries Authority and the K200,000 commitment by local MP Nixon Duban should find an alternative location immediately as vendors were open to another cholera outbreak.
He said vendors were sitting in mud with no proper ablution and water facilities, basic requirements for a clean and safe market.
“It is wrong for people to sit in mud and sell,”he said.
“It is wrong for people to source food from people who are selling in unhygienic conditions. There was a cholera outbreak in 2009 which claimed a lot of lives and we don’t want another one.”
He described the situation as ‘absolutely disgusting’, adding the lax attitude by authorities might eventually see the Japanese International Cooperation Agency contract terminated if they did not start pulling their act together.
With the K6 million kina market refurbishment already being delayed, with work supposed to have started this month, a further six month delay is imminent if a land title over the market was not produced on time, Sir Peter said.
His main concern was the lack of commitment by those responsible in working together to speed up work.
He however disagreed that the designated Bates Oval would be a good choice.
“The oval was once a lagoon. I backfilled the area and cut the grass there for the past 17 years, happy to see cricket and soccer being played on the field but that is now gone as the field is sinking and gets drowned in ankle high water during heavy rains.”