MORE THAN J$17 million will be taken from the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation's Equalisation Fund to undertake urgent repairs to 18 markets and arcades.
The resolution was moved by People's National Party councillor for the Duhaney Park division, Kevin Taylor, and seconded by Deputy Mayor of Kingston Andrew Swaby. The resolution received strong support from Jamaica Labour Party councillors including minority leader Tosha Schwapp, who had made representation for the Stony Hill market in her division.
"This is something that we look forward to. If we can regulate our markets, we can have our vendors selling in a dignified manner," she said. Donovan Samuels, councillor for the Tivoli division, where most of the markets are located, said it would have been difficult for him not to support the motion.
"I walk the markets and I have seen the conditions. The sanitary conditions are deplorable. The vendors will be happy, the customers will be happy," he opined. But councillor Gareth Walker of the Brandon Hill division, though supporting the motion, said he hoped for the day the council did not have to use money from any fund to conduct repairs.
"There are too many persons in the markets who are not paying. There are too many owing fees and there are too many of our officers in the markets, when persons owe outstanding fees, they refuse to take a portion, they want everything in total," Walker said, explaining that those who would pay a little at a time were not allowed to do so. He chastised those who were within the one-mile collection radius who were being given a free ride, and noted that 'non-traditional vendors' were not asked to pay.
"So I am hoping that we can at least bring all these things under one umbrella, whereby everybody who vends on the roads are charged.''