Linstead market vendors cry foul
LINSTEAD, St Catherine:
Phase four of the upgrading of the historic Linstead market has been at a standstill for quite sometime now, and the vendors are not happy.
A number of vendors at the market complained to Rural Xpress that the failure of the authorities to complete electrical renovation and other developments that were promised, has forced them to sell their produce on the streets instead of in the market.
"This should have been completed a long time ago, I have been coming here to sell food more than 20 years, and they said that all the work was supposed to be done long time now," said Charles Brown, who travels from St Ann to sell his yellow yam, sweet and Irish potatoes at the market.
"The work stopped for about two years now, and we can't hear nothing about when they will start again," he continued.
Brown said the perimeter fencing that was promised as part of the upgrading will go a far way in keeping all the vendors off the street if it is constructed.
Dry goods vendor Coral Dawkins said the lighting inside is bad, however she remains within the confines of the market.
"We are hoping that they will finished what they started," she told Rural Xpress.
"This will make things more orderly around here. If everything they promised is done, people will be able to shop in comfort and nobody will have excuses to sell outside," she added.
The $160 million upgrading of the market was first announced in Parliament by then prime minister Portia Simpson Miller to coincide with Jamaica 50 celebrations.
The repair of the old market and canteen were completed in Phase 1, major structural repairs to the main market building were done in Phase 2, while roof replacement, insulation, lightning protection, window replacement, painting and guttering were completed in Phase 3.
A spokesman at the Urban Development Corporation, the body tasked with the responsibility to carry out the renovation work, told Rural Xpress that the agency is currently pursuing funding for Phase 4.
"We are at the design stage of Phase 4, approximately $90 million is required to complete this phase," the spokesman disclosed.
According to him, although there has been a delay, the agency has not overrun its budget.
The spokesman revealed that $70 million has already been spent and the $90 million that the agency is now seeking will complete perimeter fencing, main entrances, car park, courtyard, storm water drain and electrical renovation.