The vice-chairman of the Commercial Services Committee of the St Ann Parish Council, which has responsibilities for the markets in the parish, is calling for changes to laws governing the operations of the market, to enable vendors to insure their belongings against loss.
Councillor Ian Bell, who made the call in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, did so against the background of a fire that destroyed several shops inside the Ocho Rios Market yesterday morning.
According to Bell, "The Market Law of the 18th century is outdated," and does not reflect today's reality.
"We as politicians should lobby so that our clients (vendors) can benefit even if it is to amend the act to compel them to form a group and get insurance coverage for their goods, so in case of disaster they can get some compensation."
Bell said the law states that no goods should be left in the market overnight.
"However, in today's world, I don't think it is prudent to say to the clients, take your goods out this evening and come back with them tomorrow. There must be something we can do," Bell stated.
The fire, which started shortly after seven o'clock, destroyed four shops. Several other shops were partially damaged by water as firemen worked to put out the fire.
Bell praised the quick response of the personnel from the Ocho Rios Fire Department whose quick action enabled the fire to be brought under control quickly, thus limiting the damage.