Mon | Sep 25, 2023

McKenzie happy with progress at Negril market

Published:Saturday | August 27, 2022 | 12:10 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer


Local Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie, who last year chided the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) for its tardiness in commencing construction on the new Negril food and vegetable market, was pleased with the progress when he visited the location yesterday.

Speaking to reporters after touring the facility, McKenzie commended Savanna-la-Mar Mayor Bertel Moore for the preparatory work done in the months since his last visit, which has put the location in a state of readiness to move into its construction phase.

“The work is at an advanced stage, the bathrooms and the toilets are going to be put in, and then the vendors have been given notice,” said McKenzie, referring to sellers now occupying a section of the land on which the market will be constructed.

McKenzie said that once the relocation of vendors is completed, the contract will be put out to tender.

He said the original estimate of $76 million, which was announced in 2016 when the project was first announced, is no longer feasible based on the escalation in construction costs.

“I am not prepared to say what the end result is going to be, because as you know, it is going out to tender and you don’t want anybody to know what the numbers will be, … but it will definitely not be the same number,” said McKenzie.

Mayor Moore, who did not take kindly to McKenzie’s criticism last year, also expressed satisfaction with the state of readiness at the Negril site yesterday.

“We have been hitting around for a number of years to put this place together. I can recall years ago all these people (vendors) you see over there were along the road, and it was an eyesore to me,” said Moore. “I am pleased with what is happening now. It’s ideal for Negril.”

Westmoreland Western Member of Parliament Morland Wilson and representatives of the Negril Chamber of Commerce were also among the touring party on Friday.