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RDC slams poor sanitation at Chinese restaurants in Berbice

first_imgThe poor state of sanitation at some Chinese restaurants along the Corentyne Coast was discussed at the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) on Thursday last.The washroom facility at one of the restaurantsHead of the Regional Health Committee, Zamal Hussain, has said health is of paramount importance to the residents of Region Six.Addressing the issue of the restaurants, Alliance for Change (AFC) Regional Councillor Gobin Harbhajan said many of these restaurants are situated on the lower flats of buildings which have vacant upper flats, where in most instances bats dwell.According to Harbhajan, the restaurant owners could be seen in the mornings sweeping up bat dung before they open for business.Guyana Times visited restaurants along the Corentyne and found what appeared to be bat dung swept up and left in a corner at some restaurants.According to Harbhajan, he has raised the issue with Regional Environmental Health Officer Marvin Dindial. He revealed that a restaurant at Bush Lot Village had been closed for unhealthy practices, but, twelve hours later, it was reopened.The operator of that restaurant told this publication that he had been told to clean the inside and surroundings of the restaurant, and he did just that before reopening.“I wipe out inside and spray the grass,” the Chinese national said.Harbhajan told the RDC that many of the restaurants do not have running water connected to their wash rooms.The interior of one of the Chinese restaurants in Berbice“They have two bottles with water for you to wash your hands if you have to use the washroom,” he explained.In another restaurant, a drum with water which had turned green was situated in front of the restaurant; and there was an open urinal a few feet away.That restaurant owner said the water was not for washing hands. According to the woman, the water in the drum is used to clean the urinal.The woman acknowledged that it was weeks since rain had last fallen, and thus the water had become discoloured. At the same restaurant, the operator showed this publication a stand pipe which she said was to facilitate persons with water to wash their hands.She then turned on the tap to prove that there was running water. Below that tap was a drain which was infested with maggots.More than eighty percent of the restaurants visited do not have washroom facilities for females.Regional Environmental Health Officer Marvin Dindial told this publication that the department is finding it difficult to get Chinese restaurateurs on the Corentyne to comply with standard regulations.According to him, his department does not have the authority to close any restaurant.“We can only seize their utensils and make recommendations. Sometimes when we seize (the utensils) they go and get other utensils and continue operation,” Dindial disclosed.He said the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) have a role to play.Dindial disclosed that constant visits to some restaurants and training which his department has been providing on a monthly basis have resulted in some Chinese restaurants upgrading their operations.The Environmental Officer said he is hoping that, over time, all of the restaurants would improve their standards, so they can serve the public more effectively.Harbhajan has asked the RDC to use its power to ensure that those restaurants which operate in unsanitary conditions be made to close their operations, but Husain has said it is not just an issue for the Regional Health Committee to address.“The health standards at these particular areas should be looked at, because we are having some serious issues with the placement of the toilets…,” Harbhajan has charged.While accepting some amount of blame as head of the Regional Health Committee, Husain has promised that, together with the Regional Environmental Health Department, systems will be put in place at all restaurants in Region Six. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img

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