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‘Stand your ground’ - Market vendors urged to beat back bulldozers

Published:Friday | March 1, 2019 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
Bert Samuels

As the demolition of the Constant Spring Market looms, vendors are being advised by their attorney-at-law to create a human wall of defiance until they are fairly compensated for their property by the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC).

“They are insisting that justice means there must be compensation for their shops. And we invite the KSAMC to come to the market tomorrow to measure the people’s shops, look at what is to be demolished, and compensate them for it. I wouldn’t be moving. Stand your ground until you get compensation,” attorney-at-law Bert Samuels said yesterday in an interview with The Gleaner.

Samuels said, to date, the vendors have not been offered formal compensation.

Yesterday, a Supreme Court judge lifted the temporary injunction previously granted to the vendors preventing the municipal corporation from demolishing the market.

Justice Leighton Pusey said that he could not grant the injunction when he weighed the inconvience that would have been suffered by the National Works Agency and the China Harbour Engineering Company compared to that of the vendors.

Attorneys representing the KSAMC had brought letters from both entities detailing the cost that would be incurred if they were not able to continue with the road improvement project.

The vendors were previously granted a 14-day injunction against the KSAMC in June 2018. However, when the matter was heard on June 25, 2018, the court decided against extending the order.

Samuels, who represents at least 70 of the vendors, argued that a new market could have been built to accommodate the vendors.

“We maintain that there is 200 feet of land right behind the market, where another market could be built. We’ve not had a satisfactory answer to that, but we have to respect the court’s ruling,” he said.

Vendors were previously given a March 31, 2018 eviction date, but that was later extended to September 30, 2018.

Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams, in an interview with The Gleaner, said that vendors will be given until the weekend to vacate the premises and demolition will commence on March 8.