By Machela Osagboro
The abattoir is the second Ministry of Agriculture building to be refurbished since the appointment of the new Minister of Agriculture, Samantha Marshall.
The North Sound-based facility saw repairs commence less than an hour after Minister Marshall visited the facility last Friday.
Among the issues that needed addressing were a lack of proper air-conditioning, faulty plumbing and electrical wiring, and cracked walls.
General manager of the plant, Charlesworth Grant, told OBSERVER media “the electrician turned up to look at the scope of the work”, confirming that work began on the electrical aspect of the renovations shortly after Marshall left the plant. Grant added however that a time line was not given for full completion of the repairs.
Grant said plumbers were due to visit the facility by the middle of the week to start fixing numerous plumbing problems. He also said a contractor would be brought in to look at the scope of work to be done to the building structure, because the restructuring work is said to be beyond the expertise of the Public Works Department.
The manager added that the logistics of fixing the entire structure will have to be weighed up as the entire premises cannot be rebuilt in one go as it is the only abattoir in Antigua. He also stated that he would need to sit down with workers and determine if a temporary structure was needed.
Grant stated that the abattoir has been in operation for 20 years and no major foodborne illness has ever been reported, he said, due to the efforts of workers striving to keep meat safe.
“If the urgent repairs are not done, then the whole product could be compromised because of the deterioration of the plant,” he warned.