Tue | Jun 25, 2019

Papine Market upgrade could be fast-tracked after fire - Mayor

Published:Friday | June 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams
A burnt-out section of the Papine Market in St Andrew, which was on fire yesterday afternoon.
Clean-up operation being conducted at the Papine Market in St Andrew in the aftermath of a fire at the facility on Thursday.

Longstanding plans to upgrade the Papine Market may have to be fast-tracked after fire destroyed a section of the building early Thursday morning, according to Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams.

"The fire that ripped through a section of the market early yesterday morning underscores the need for its longstanding upgrade. But it should be noted that dialogue has been ongoing with the Ministry of Local Government to commence work on the actual upgrading as quickly as possible," said Williams.

"Minister (Desmond) McKenzie mentioned in his Budget presentation that funds were allocated for the upgrade to start this year, and the fire further underscores that need. We are proceeding with talks, even more urgently, now that we had this fire," said Williams, who is also chairman of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation.


Roof collapses


Approximately 15 vendors have been affected by the fire, which is reported to have started about 1 a.m. on Thursday. The blaze tore through a section of the facility, causing part of the roof to collapse, leaving potentially millions of dollars in damage.

"We are working to get the market and vendors back, operationally, as soon as possible and will outline the timeline for the repairs and upgrades as soon as preliminary reports are prepared by the engineers," Williams noted.

In addition, he stated that work had already begun to return the vending facility to a state of normality as quickly as possible.

The municipal engineers were quickly on spot and have assessed the damage, Williams indicated. In addition, he said that the layout of the market would be revised to see how best to accommodate the short-term relocation of the affected vendors so that they could continue selling.

Some $400 million will be spent during the 2018-2019 financial year to construct and upgrade markets across the island, McKenzie announced at Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the new Port Maria Market in St Mary.

The local government minister said that the expenditure was the largest in recent years for the improvement of market infrastructure, noting that the investment would stimulate small-scale economic activity.

He said that there was need for markets across the island to get "serious attention" as the facilities were major sources of income for many Jamaicans.