November deadline for completion of Black River market
Launtia Cuff, Gleaner Writer
With several missed deadlines on the completion of the Black River market, chairman of the St Elizabeth Parish Council, Councillor Everton Fisher, said that the completion could not stretch out for much longer.
The mayor, who was speaking at the regular monthly meeting of the council held last Thursday, said that while the council was nearing the completion of the market, there was a shortfall of approximately $22 million. He said they have been waiting on the Ministry of Local Government, however he believed it was time to make an effort to raise at least a portion of the outstanding amounts.
"We are in a shortfall of about $22 million to have the Black River market completed. I have written to Dr Davies to see if we can get a little more funds from JEEP (Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme) as you know they gave us $9.6 million," he explained.
At the July monthly meeting, the mayor said he had hoped the market would be completed by August; that expectation had not been met. The mayor now says the market must be completed by the end of October; no later than the middle of November. He suggested that money from a pending sales agreement for property owned by the council, be poured into the market.
"The proposal I use, because these days you almost have to do matching funds, I'm seeking the permission of the council that upon the sales agreement of [property] at Institution Drive we use that money to push it all into the market, because, after all these promises, we cannot have the vendors out there at the end of October or the middle of November. We cannot wait until the end of November... you know the [mind]set of [the vendors], they will want to tell you to give them until January.
"So I'm seeking, instead of putting the money in the bank, we seek some matching funds and we complete the Black River market, which would be a major investment for us. Based on what the financial situation is, we cannot sit and wait on local government to be sending money [but I'd be] happy if they could give us at least half [of what is needed]."
The mayor said it was time the vendors were placed in the market as this was something that even the previous administration had attempted to do.
"I want to say clearly, we cannot tell the people anything more than to get them into the facility that we have been trying with, or even from the previous administration, has been trying with," Fisher said.