Wed | Jun 19, 2019

Digicel goes to 'Curry'

Published:Thursday | February 24, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Digicel CEO Mark Linehan (second right) examines onions he's about to purchase, as a member of his staff and vendors look on.
Major General Robert Neish (left), of the Digicel Foundation, talks to a market vendor on Friday before buying tomatoes from him. Digicel corporate executives took staff and media on a shopping spree to Coronation Market, downtown Kingston. Each shopper received $2,000 in small bills, a burlap, environmentally-friendly market bag and $500 worth of credit to give away to customer-friendly vendors.
Members of Digicel staff make their way into the Coronation Market, downtown Kingston, last Friday. - photos by Ian Allen
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When the Jamaica Urban Transit Company bus stopped at The Gleaner just past 9 o'clock last Friday morning, I was the last of a group of 50 Digicel staff members and some media personnel who were being taken on a shopping trip to Coronation Market, downtown Kingston.

The telecoms giant took the initiative following their efforts to refurbish Coronation Market as part of long-term redevelopment plans for the city, after last year's security forces incursion into neighbouring Tivoli Gardens to hunt for reputed drug lord Christopher Coke.

The company has since spent some $200 million to refurbish the market and is in the early stages of work on its corporate headquarters nearby. The Digicel headquarters will be the Carib-bean's most energy efficient when it is complete, boasts Digicel Foundation board member, Major General Robert Neish.

But the spending is not over. Each of the passengers in the bus was given a burlap shopping bag with a branded T-shirt, $2,000 spending money and five one hundred dollar's worth of credit for the most customer-friendly higglers.

The icing on the cake was radio personality Jenni-Jenni Small, who kept passengers in stitches on the journey. Her antics included a very quick Patois lesson for the Irish male passengers in how to order a pound of tomatoes like a native. Needless to say, their efforts were futile.

CEO of Digicel, Mark Linehan, who did not stop asking loudly for 'pum-pum' yam till he found it, told The Gleaner that the trip was to promote shopping at Coronation Market by sensitising his staff to the experience, since they would be working downtown in another 18 or so months when the office is complete.

'Good' experience

Linehan further said, "I enjoyed it, it was good. I want to do it again and I am pleased with the staff's response. I was delighted with the trip to 'Curry' - it was a really nice way to spend a couple of hours on a Friday morning. The feedback from the staff who joined us has been very good. All have promised to start shopping there more regularly." He said he saw the trip as a great opportunity for staff to see first-hand the work the company has done at the market and how pleasing it was to hear the praises of the vendors as they spoke of their new market with the new numbered vendor stalls, street signs, roofs, shops, refurbished washrooms and solar panels.

Linehan described the overall experience as fantastic. "We all left with our shopping bags full of fresh Jamaican produce. I'm looking forward to the next visit to Coronation Market."

barbara.ellington@gleanerjm.com