Regional

$10-million roof leaks

Vendors suffer losses at recently repaired Musgrave Market

KIMONE FRANCS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, November 13, 2017

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THREE months after the roof of Musgrave Market in Port Antonio, Portland, was repaired by the Portland Municipal Corporation, vendors are reporting that roof leaks are damaging their goods.

“It a affect we bad. Member say if we clothes them wet up them a mildew enuh, and if them mildew yuh know say that is a waste. So mi lose right deh so 'cause that can't sell,” Natalie Sinclair told the Jamaica Observer North & East on a visit to the facility last Tuesday.

The leaking roof was reportedly repaired in August. Observer North & East was informed that $10 million was earmarked to carry out the repairs.

“When dem fix it, a did dry time. So it come een like it want stop leak or something,” the woman added.

Two stalls from Sinclair, where Lincoln Jones and his partner Melissa Dench have a shoes stall, the story was the same only this time they said that the market, where they pay $300 weekly to sell, is also without proper electricity.

“It's really bad when it rains here. The roof leaks and floods the place, we have to pack up our stuff, we have to put them higher. The roof is not sealed properly, that's the problem. They changed the roof, but they changed it for the worse. We have more water now than we ever did.

“They don't listen. No matter how much you tell them, they ignore you and you don't get compensation for your stuff. They say we shouldn't be here at nights, that we are to pack up every night and go home,” Jones lamented.

The man complained bitterly about the lack of proper electricity, arguing that if it were not for “makeshift” lighting from the roof they would not be able to do commerce. Jones added that the wires which have been poorly connected by vendors could cause a fire at any time.

A woman, who was seated at her friend's shop in her absence, relayed the difficulties experienced by her friend since the roof was repaired.

“She has a bucket on top with a tarpaulin. When the rain falls, it catch water. So a morning time when she come she affi climb up pon her friends them barrel to empty the water. Sometimes it leak come down and wet up her shoes them — this is since them claim seh them repair the roof.

“She has about four pairs of shoes weh damage already; she don't get nothing back from them. But we a poor people so we just have to continue fighting fi make a life. Everybody inside here worry when rain set up. Them have to just keep praying and hoping for the best. Most of them, this is them livelihood fi pay them bills, send them children go to school, and throw them likkle partner. The pay market fee so them shouldn't be having this problem,” Julette Murray told Observer North & East.

“No light not in here either, them have to be using extension cords. Suppose with the leaking roof rain fall one night and it cause fire?” the woman further questioned.

Andrew Wynter said he, too, has lost several pairs of shoes due to the leaking roof. The man said he has had to use tarpaulin to cover his stall.

“When rain fall the water drop, wet up the shoes them, and rotten off the whole a the board them. We still a try though because nuh better nuh deh,” he shared.

Kathleen Thomas had a white bucket atop clothes she was selling. She showed Observer North and East damaged clothing caused by the leaks.

“When the rain falls my stuff wet up. They have watermark in them. Them wet all over — I can't sell them. Is more than 13 years mi selling in here,” she said.

At the meat market, Vivian Simpson noted that butchers there suffer the most whenever it rains. He said there is heavy leaking in that side and argued that it keeps away customers.

Mayor of Port Antonio Paul Thompson told Observer North & East that there are plans for “corrective” work to be done.

“It seems as if there are a few minor problems there that is causing leakage. The contractor was told about the problem so, in short order, I think it will be addressed,” Thompson said, adding that “$10 million was estimated” for repairs. He was not certain if the full sum was used to conduct the repairs.

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