MONTEGO BAY, St James — The St James Parish Council on Friday officially handed over a new police post to the Jamaica Constabulary Force at the Charles Gordon market in Montego Bay.
In his address at the opening ceremony, chairman of the local authority, Glendon Harris, pointed out that the police post is the first step in a raft of initiatives being undertaken by the council to improve the facility.
“The handing-over of the new police post at the Charles Gordon market is really a work in progress. We really want to bring the market to the level of an attraction,” he told the gathering.
“Since we have started this process of ensuring there is some organisation, some law and order, bringing back some dignity and civility to the Charles Gordon market, we have seen that even tourist buses have been coming back to the market,” he added.
In recent months, the council has taken steps to ensure that vendors ply their wares in designated areas and has made significant progress in getting handcart operators to conduct themselves in an orderly manner.
Harris, who is also the mayor of Montego Bay, said Friday that it was necessary for the police to have a base in the market area.
“We will have the police here in a dignified manner... we have done our part in ensuring that there is a comfortable place for the police to operate from,” he argued.
President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry Davon Crump commended the mayor and the council for establishing the post and for taking steps to improve the conditions at the facility.
“I must commend and congratulate Mayor Harris, the St James Parish Council, and everyone else who contributed and co-ordinated these efforts, as we have seen an improvement in the general condition of the market and the surrounding areas so far. We should strive to maintain these standards,” he stressed.
Crump also announced that the chamber will be donating four desks to the post.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for St James Central Lloyd B Smith also applauded Harris for his efforts and reminisced about the days when the market attracted tourists and celebrities alike.
“I can recall as a youngster when this market was first built along with the Cornwall Regional Hospital. It was supposed to be not just the best in Jamaica, but the best in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. I also recall the days when celebrities used to shop at the Charles Gordon market. Elizabeth Taylor shopped in this market and many other Hollywood stars trekking down from Round Hill (in Hanover),” he disclosed.
Smith also encouraged the police to carry out their duties in a respectful manner.
“I want to also urge the police that will occupy this space to ensure that they carry out their duties firmly, but with a certain amount of kindness, courtesy and understanding. We have to ensure that this market becomes a haven for progress and safety,” he stressed.
According to Assistant Commissioner of Police Devon Watkis, the post will initially be manned by 14 policemen.