Sun | Nov 28, 2021

Charles Gordon Market must be under constant surveillance – MoBay mayor

Published:Wednesday | March 17, 2021 | 12:19 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Health inspectors and police search for breaches in the Charles Gordon Market, Montego Bay, in 2019.
Health inspectors and police search for breaches in the Charles Gordon Market, Montego Bay, in 2019.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Montego Bay Mayor Leeroy Williams believes that while there is now greater compliance to COVID-19 prevention protocols at the city’s Charles Gordon Market, he thinks there is a need for shoppers and vendors to be constantly reminded about observing the safety protocols.

Williams, who is also the chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation, was part of a team that included representatives of the St James Health Department, who turned up at the market last Saturday to look at the conditions there and carry out testing.

“The testing was done there at the market, and it was a very satisfactory exercise from all reports. I think what we need to do is just follow up and do what is necessary, in getting the people to follow the protocols, washing their hands, sanitising, and especially wearing their masks,” said Williams.

“There have to be constant reminders, and as a municipal corporation, what we do is visit the market fairly often, provide persons with masks, and of course advise them that it is necessary to observe the protocols,” added Williams.

MEETING CONCERNS

During last Thursday’s monthly meeting of the StJMC, fresh concerns were raised by councillors about the Charles Gordon Market, which has frequently been pinpointed as a notorious ‘super-spreader’ location for the virus due to the lack of adherence to physical distancing, mask-wearing and handwashing protocols. It was subsequently announced that a virtual sectoral meeting would be held this week to discuss the impact of the pandemic.

Last April, because of vendors’ and shoppers’ resistance to COVID-19 guidelines, the market was unfavourably compared to the Portmore, St Catherine-based Alorica call centre, which at that time accounted for 120 of Jamaica’s then-recorded 223 COVID-19 infections. To date, St James has recorded 3,346 of Jamaica’s total 31,907 cases, which makes it the parish with the highest recorded number of COVID-19 infections in western Jamaica.

Williams also noted that there are no other locations in St James that has raised as much concern as the Charles Gordon Market when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think the market would have been the chief problem area in St James, because the last time I was there, there were quite a few persons who were not wearing masks. But more persons have been complying now, so there is an improvement in the situation there, and I think they are definitely getting the message,” said Williams.

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