Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Easter ‘postponed’ in Rocky Point - Fisherfolk reeling from COVID-19 woes

Published:Wednesday | April 8, 2020 | 12:11 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Loretta Bryan (left) watches as her daughter Sherine Morgan cleans fish for sale in Rocky Point, Clarendon, on March 8, 2019. There has been a dramatic decline in business in the area due to the crippling blow of the new coronavirus.
Loretta Bryan (left) watches as her daughter Sherine Morgan cleans fish for sale in Rocky Point, Clarendon, on March 8, 2019. There has been a dramatic decline in business in the area due to the crippling blow of the new coronavirus.

Fisherfolk in Rocky Point, Clarendon, are reeling from a dramatic decline in business in what is traditionally a high-sales period as many Jamaicans see fish as the protein of choice in the Lenten season.

But with the deadly coronavirus which causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease coming ashore, with Clarendon recording the highest number of cases (14) outside the Corporate Area, the customary boom in sales has not materialised with Good Friday on the horizon.

In Rocky Point, traditionally a hub of activity at this time, the fishermen have nothing but tales of woe.

Arthur Coleman, who is president of both the Community Development Committee and District Area Committee which encompasses Lionel Town, Rocky Point, Mitchell Town and Portland Cottage, said he has been receiving nothing but complaints.

“It is a sad time for the fisherfolk. It’s like Easter postponed this year,” he told The Gleaner. “Normally, when they return from the sea, they don’t have hands to sell off their catch, but these days, they have to be putting the fish on ice as few people buying.”

EYE ON PORTLAND COTTAGE

Last week, the Government announced that Portland Cottage was being closely monitored as 50 households there had been placed under the radar, after two residents from the community tested positive for the coronavirus.

Coleman said that dealt a further blow to the fishing industry, and with that being the main economic activity in the area, the ripple effects were being felt everywhere.

“It’s rough, really rough. A lot of people in this area are feeling the pinch, and it is not just fishermen,” he said.

Coleman told The Gleaner that some families were struggling to take care of their daily needs as a result of the crunch. This led him to compile a list of the most vulnerable persons in the communities he oversees.

“The aim is to see how best we can organise assistance for them,” he said.

He is urging Jamaicans to cooperate with the measures being implemented by the Government to contain the virus so that life in the country can get back to normal as soon as possible.

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