Mon | Aug 26, 2019

Future of Ray Ray market uncertain

Published:Wednesday | August 14, 2019 | 12:08 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
The wooden stalls at the Ray Ray Ground market are very susceptible to fire. Some vendors have used half-burnt pieces of wood from the April blaze to reconstruct their stalls.
The wooden stalls at the Ray Ray Ground market are very susceptible to fire. Some vendors have used half-burnt pieces of wood from the April blaze to reconstruct their stalls.

The future of the Ray Ray Ground market remains uncertain as the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation explores a number of options, including a relocation of vendors to other nearby markets.

This was the revelation by KSAMC CEO Robert Hill yesterday in an interview with The Gleaner.

“We are looking at some options. I can’t give you much detail right now because we are conducting some other activities. We are looking at again the availability of spaces of markets that are to be opened [in] the Jubilee and the Red Rose [markets] and the Redemption Arcade.

“So with those, you have to work out the numbers and look at feasibility ... . It’s been dragging for a while now, and we understand, but I can’t tell you much more at this point. I know we are working on some numbers and regularisation,” said Hill, who is also the town clerk.

The Ray Ray Ground market, which is located along West Queen Street in downtown Kingston, has been razed by fire at least three times in the last two years, with the latest inferno on April 23 sparing nothing in its path.

On a visit to the market yesterday, nails were still scattered on the ground and pieces of charred wood used to construct some stalls were the only indication that a fire had occurred.

The vendors insist that the market, where many of them have peddled their wares for more than a decade, is where they belong.

“We nuh have nowhere. We nuh have nowhere a go again. We wah dem fix yah so and give we back. We will pay any amount,” said Hyacinth Grange, who said she has been selling in the market for more than 40 years.

Andrea Gabbidon, who told The Gleaner that she has been selling in the market for the last 21 years, shared the sentiment.

“We pay market fee – $300 a week on Saturdays – and we fi register now. We still no get no help, but we thank him (mayor) for letting us stay on the land that we can hustle to send the children to school and pay our bills,” Gabbidon said.

She added: “We want to stay here. This is a blessed land. The land is blessed ... . Is like the more it burn down is the more people come.”

There is no set timeline for the opening of the other three markets that have been undergoing renovations.