Vendors gripped with fear at Coronation Market
SOME VENDORS at Jamaica's largest food market, Coronation, are expressing serious concerns about their safety, charging that criminals have been robbing and attacking sellers who dare to defy them.
One vendor who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Gleaner that the situation has become increasingly dangerous, with criminals robbing people in broad daylight.
"I am scared. I don't know what is going to happen. We just have to pray and trust in God," the vendor lamented.
According to the concerned seller, the recent shooting in the downtown Kingston market has further heightened fears among vendors and shoppers.
The vendor said that many customers have indicated that they are concerned about the tension in west Kingston and reports of persons being robbed in the market.
In addition, the vendor said there appears to be a considerable decline in the number of people who usually turn up at the market on Thursdays and Saturdays to purchase ground provisions.
Another vendor at the market reported being robbed of about $70,000 at the Coronation Market.
Challenging to police
Town Clerk Robert Hill said the market is situated in a challenging location in west Kingston where competing gangs operate.
"Whereas we have security provided within the market, we still are not fully capable of managing the types of things that go on in there in terms of robbery, because it is a porous area," he said.
"Historically, where the market is located it is a difficult place - it is just difficult to manage. We cannot control the social construct around the market because those variables are outside the remit of the KSAC (Kingston and St Andrew Corporation), but we are doing all we can, along with the police, to secure the area," the town clerk asserted.
He said the KSAC and the city engineer have been working to create more orderly access to the market.
Several calls were made to the Darling Street police for comment but the officer in charge was in a meeting. Subsequent calls to the officer proved futile, as his phone rang without an answer.