Five eating houses were suspended on Monday from operating by the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), after they were found to be in violation of the health and safety codes.
The five businesses, ‘Donne’s Delight’ located on Dennis Street, Sophia; ‘Soup Hut’ on Cemetery Road; ‘Trini’s Grill’ on Sherriff Street; a snackette on Sherriff Street and a liquor restaurant on Duncan Street, Campbell-ville operated by Peggy Hohenkirk, were all brought before the council to present their cases. All of the businesses were found to be operating without any permission from the city council and conducting their businesses under insanitary conditions.
Abiola Baker, Head of the M&CC’s Meat and Hygiene Food Department, explained to the council that during visits with her team to the business premises she found entities operating in the absence of a “cleanliness flow,” and in the cases of the Soup Hut, which is operated by Orin Isaacs and Luanna Noel, and the snackette, which Rajkumarie Singh operates on Sherriff Street, cooking was being done under a shed, which she said, is a breach of the city health codes. She added that in the case of the Trini’s Grill, operated by Nanda Singh next to the Budget Supermarket, the owner had unlabelled bottles with ingredients, and the washing area was too close to the preparation area.
Baker further explained that the businesses in some cases did not have valid food handlers’ certificates for the staff or the operators. However, when the businesses were called up, they were able to present the valid certificates which they had acquired after being told of the violations.
Baker also said that bringing the businesses to the council was their last resort, as they were working with some which complied, while the ones brought before the council were still delinquent.
However, after the businesses presented their case, the council voted for the businesses to be closed for three months, or until they put the requisite systems in place to the satisfaction of the Meat and Hygiene Food Department.
Isaacs told the council that he had been working along with the food inspector to put systems in place. He explained that his restaurant is one the tidiest and cleanest in the community he operates. He said he would ensure daily that the environment is clean by personally sweeping the yard.
Carter, when he presented his case denied the violations brought against him and said that while his business is only over a year old, they have been working to maintain cleanliness. However, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green informed the council that they should rely on the report presented to council in considering judgement. She noted that the situation reported was an image of what the inspector had seen when the visit was conducted.
In the case of Rajkumarie Singh, she has to wait on permission from the City Engineer’s department to carry out extension works. All other documents have been put in order Nanda Singh has to be registered with the city to operate. Hohenkirk was slapped with a three-month sanction in absentia.
The councillors praised Baker and her team for bringing violators before the council to be sanctioned. They noted that the health of citizens is more important than businesses being unable to earn a profit for a few days. The Councillors argued that health standards must be adhered to at all times.
APNU Councillor Andrea Marks suggested that since the inspectors are zooming in on food shops, they should be made to visit the Chinese restaurants operating in the city, as she is sure there are a few in violation of the city’s health codes.