Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Minister bemoans state of Portland market

Published:Monday | March 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMGareth Davis
Desmond McKenzie


A huge pile-up of garbage, compounded by a leaking roof and mounting complaints from vendors, triggered strong criticisms from local government minister Desmond McKenzie, who condemned the deplorable state at the Musgrave Market in Port Antonio.

McKenzie, along with a team from the local government ministry, wrapped up a two-day tour of Portland on Friday, but not before lashing out at officers assigned to the Portland Municipal Corporation, who had a difficulty in explaining the unhealthy state at the market, which houses approximately 350 vendors.

"This is deplorable, disgraceful, and unacceptable. I toured this facility in 2012 and 2014, while I was the opposition spokesman on local government. It seems that conditions have deteriorated to the extent that what now exists is rather frightening and disturbing. This corporation sent an estimate to the ministry some time ago requesting funds to do corrective work on the market. I have now issued instructions for the immediate release of $10 million to commence the necessary work," said McKenzie.

According to the minister, vendors have complained bitterly about the unsightly look of the market and the leaking roof, which continues to damage their goods.

"I have asked Mayor Paul Thompson to personally take control of what is to be done on the market. He is to ensure that quality work is done so that, at least, the vendors and those utilising the market can feel a little more comfortable. The technical officer in the ministry will be monitoring the project, and I am quite sure that most of the plights facing vendors will be alleviated upon its completion," McKenzie further added.

The garbage pile-up at the rear of the Musgrave Market has reportedly attracted flies and mosquitoes and has become a breeding ground for roaches, rats, and other rodents.

"The excuse given by the corporation's officials is unacceptable. And as such, I have issued instructions for funds to be released to rid that area of its garbage. It is something that I just can't understand. And I don't want anyone to try and explain it to me. The garbage that is there now did not come from the market. It is quite clear that persons took it from elsewhere into the market. We can't have people paying vending fees and operating in an environment like this, and it is not only vendors, as tourists also visit this market too."