Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Moving with the times

Published:Thursday | August 22, 2019 | 12:15 AM


The demolished market at Manor Park remains in the news. The Reverend Garnett Roper, president of the Jamaica Theological Seminary, has admitted that it was he who first responded to the ‘plight’ of the market vendors and pressed attorney-at-law Bert Samuels into service to champion, pro bono, the cause of the vendors.

Reverend Roper feels that the vendors should be moved to some ‘proximate location.’ Can you identify a ‘proximate location’ in Manor Park, sir?

Built just three years after Independence, when Martin Luther King visited, the market in Manor Park was a godsend for vendors travelling from Portland and St Mary. They did not have to overnight at Half-Way Tree and then journey downtown to Coronation market. Manor Park was nothing like what it is today. Fewer residents, fewer buildings. But it was an opportunity to meet people, learn their names and buying habits. So, in addition to selling their produce, it was a social event.


But the world has changed, Reverend Roper. We now have supermarkets. I am inviting you to go into one of these operations, reflect on the history of how we buy groceries, and it will reveal a lot about socio-economic trends. Tell me, sir, if there is anything in your market that is not in the supermarket.

Commerce has evolved. We have debit and credit cards, warehouses and refrigerated vans. The physical forms of markets has progressed. That type of operation no longer has a place in a modern urban setting. Fresh produce and the value of close-knit relationships have given way to convenience and more formal human relationships.

And yes, sir, I do read the Bible – when I am in trouble. So, when you see Mr Livingston, the shoemaker again, apologise to him and tell him that Esau made a big mistake.

Glenn Tucker