By Christopher Tobutt
“We’re back, and we’re here to stay,” was the unanimous message from the George Town Fishermen of the George Town Fish Market who moved right back to the traditional site of the fish market, at Red Spot on the waterfront. They don’t want to stay at the South Terminal, where they were asked to temporarily move to by government officials at the end of May, because of covid-19 regulations, they were told. “We were losing between 30 and 40 percent of our revenue there,” said Robert Prendergast. “There has been a fish market here at Red Spot for 60 years, and we are not going away now.”
The men decided to move the familiar tent, and fish-cutting table back to its traditional position on Saturday October 31st “This is the heritage. This is the history of Cayman right here, and when the tourists come, they like to come here. Sometimes they like to buy the fish and take it to the cabana and get it cooked, and then go back to the ship, so we do not want to lose this bit of heritage,” Mr. Prendergast added.
Another fisherman, Lindo McGowan said, “I have been here since 1973, with the older folks this is a historical spot I raised my children from this area around here. And I have been selling fish from here for many years, and now I find out they have been trying to close us down.
“I always assumed it was Government property, but this is a historical landmark it has been passed on from generation to generation. But the week before last the owners told us we are not able to come back here to sell fish after we moved to the new location. They said they want to develop it to some sort of park or something,” Mr. McGowan continued.
The fishermen seem to feel there is something fishy going on, because first of all they got told to move to the new location offered to them at the South Terminal because of covid-19, but then they were told they could not return to what they consider to be ‘their’ Red Spot, as it is known.
“All kind of excuses and that we leave the place in a shamble and all of that that is like a fake news,” Mr. Prendergast said, “But I am the one who comes all the time and cleans this place up, and I clean it up and rake the beach every day. When the weather was good again we were coming back here.
Since we are here today, lots of customers say they are happy to see us back here. We are not fussing and fighting with anyone, but it just was not working over there. All we are asking is for the landowner and the government to look into our demands. Our demands are to come back to Dora Bay, or Red Spot, and sell our fish here like our fathers and grandfathers did,” he said.
Cutting up the fish, Mr. Primo was hard at work. “I work with Captain Lindo and we are fishing together and I sell his fish. The story is that we are here to stay. This is a historic site. Mr. Lindo here he is 65 years old, and ever since he has memories this has been the local fish market.