David Abrikian | Give Constant Spring vendors a proper market
Although it needed to be demolished to facilitate the road widening, the episode of the removal of the Constant Spring Market appears to have a callous streak to it, to say the least.
In fact, it is somewhat interesting the way the associated planners appeared to have revelled in the ‘accomplishment’ of its ‘final’ removal. What has not been addressed, however, is what will happen to vendors whose business venue was the market, and who appear to have been shamefully and miserably treated.
In the first place, why is it that these hard-working persons should be deprived of their venue, and with no replacement in sight?
The idea of relocating their businesses to Papine, much less Stony Hill, seems absurd. Which one of their current patrons is going to go to any of these venues to continue purchasing from them? And how well will they be able to fit into, and compete effectively, in any one of these environments?
The so-called ‘relocation payment’ to the vendors will, in all likelihood, have been used, but regardless of that, such a payment cannot begin to approach the benefits of being in the position to pursue the steady, reliable, and honest activity they previously pursued.
Behind the location of the former market, there is ample space for a replacement, possibly smaller, market that will allow both vendors and clients to continue the selling and purchasing activities, and there is no credible, practical or ethical reason why this should not be done.
And apart from the disenfranchisement of the vendors, and the interference with their profession, there is an even more important reason for keeping these vendors near to where they were, and allowing them to continue to work in the region.
The vendors represent a group of persons whose integrity and work ethic transcend the national norm. To remove them from the area is to remove a showcase of honesty, entrepreneurship, work ethic, and values that symbolise the very heart and soul of the Jamaican spirit.
With all that is going on, both visible and invisible, including such traumas as Petrojam and the Ministry of Education, Jamaica needs to give as much visibility as possible to the activities that symbolise the principles that need to be emulated and replicated from top to bottom throughout the society. The symbols of the true Jamaican spirit need to be kept alive, dynamic, and throbbing.
To the powers that be, please construct a substitute market for these vendors in the region of Manor Park. The cost of this will be insignificant with regard to the cost of the project, and Jamaica has no credible practical, ethical or moral reason for not doing so.