The Government will be allocating $60 million to commence rehabilitation works on the Charles Gordon Market in Montego Bay, St. James, in order to improve vending conditions.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, made the disclosure following a tour of the market on Friday, July 9.
He pointed out that the funds represent an initial start of the comprehensive renovation planned for the market and it will be done on a phase by phase basis.
“This work is to improve the condition, fixing the roof, changing out the stalls and addressing some of the prime problems that exists in the market and once we would have completed that first phase of the work, we move on to a second phase,” Mr. McKenzie stated.
He said Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Homer Davis, will assume direct responsibility and work with the St. James Municipal Corporation on the project.
“So the funds will be made available and it will be left for State Minister Davis to work with Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Leeroy Williams, and the technical people to put in place the necessary processes for the work to commence,” he indicated.
Mr. McKenzie also noted that when the overall work is completed, he expects all vendors to ply their wares inside the facility and not out on the streets.
“We are not going to be prepared to spend that kind of money to fix up a market and then allow people to vend on the outside. We have listened to their concerns and so the work will be done, taking into consideration the issues they have raised,” the Minister said.
“I am going to urge the vendors to set themselves up in a structured way to have an association, that will meet on a regular basis with the Municipal Corporation to discuss the issues surrounding their concerns, because some of it is personal and some of it is actually related to the municipality,” he added.
For his part, Mr. Davis said Charles Gordon Market serves the parishes of St. Elizabeth, Trelawny, Westmoreland, St. Ann, Hanover and St. James.
As such, he stated that upgrading the market will transform the facility into one of the best in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
“I am very happy today. He (Mr. McKenzie) gave me that responsibility to work in tandem with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and all the other council men and technical staff at the Municipality to get this piece of edifice going….and in a way that the people can be very proud of,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Mayor Williams indicated that he is looking forward to the work commencing on the market, noting that it will go a far way in making the environment a more habitable place for vendors.