Mon | Dec 10, 2018

McKenzie, Bogle spar over Yallahs Market lease

Published:Wednesday | April 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
An empty stall on the sidewalk adjacent to what used to be the market and is now used as an auto parts dealership in Yallahs, St Thomas.

Former People's National Party Councillor Constantine Bogle, one of several persons who leased the Yallahs Market from the municipal corporation years ago, could be on a collision course with Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie, who is insistent that the facility be restored to vendors.

At present, motor vehicle parts are sold at the facility.

"If you lease a market, it should be operating as a market. It is the obligation of the local authority to provide a facility for vending. If it is one vendor, we still have an obligation to provide facility for that vendor," McKenzie advised The Gleaner.

 

PLAYING POLITICS

 

However, a strident Bogle told The Gleaner yesterday that McKenzie was playing politics. "It is just a political statement that the minister is making," Bogle charged.

The former councillor said he had legally leased the market at a time when government policy had shifted. He explained that the Government had made the decision that it would not fund more than one market in a parish. This, he said, resulted in a situation where the local authorities leased a number of markets to private persons. He claimed that several other markets in St Thomas, such as Seaforth, Golden Grove, Bath, and Port Morant had been closed and subsequently leased or rented.

McKenzie hit back, contending that "regardless of the circum-stances under which the lease was granted, you can't convert a market into a junkyard, and then there are vendors outside of the market sitting down."

"I have heard the argument that all the markets have been divested. I don't know where he has got his information from," the minister declared. "It is the intention of this minister to correct that wrong, because there is a need for a market in Yallahs. It is evident. You go out there and you see the vendors sitting on the outside, especially on weekends," McKenzie added.

A legal battle could be looming on the issue, with Bogle stating that if the minister serves notice on him, the matter would be placed in the hands of his attorney. Further, he said the Government would have to pay him for the balance of the lease.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com