Gov't to spend $150m on market upgrades this year

Observer West reporter

Thursday, April 12, 2018

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CLARK'S TOWN, Trelawny — Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie says Government has heard the cries of vendors across the island and has therefore set aside some $150 million to improve market infrastructure across the island during this financial year.

“In this financial year the Government is setting aside $150million to deal with markets across the country. This investment represents one of the highest expenditure that has been spent over the past five years on markets across the country,” McKenzie noted.

“Our markets are in desperate need of attention and it is the obligation of the Government to ensure that we provide the necessary resources.”

But the local government minister made it abundantly clear that following the colossal investment in the upgrade of the markets, vending will no longer be tolerated outside the facilities.

“When you talk to people, especially the vendors, and you ask them why you are not in the market, they complain and they say the facilities in the markets are not good. There's no sanitary facility, the roof is leaking, and they find all sorts of complaints to prevent them from going into the market. Well, we have listened to them and there can be no more excuses when the resources are found, when we spend the money, when we upgrade and make the markets into an acceptable position. I am going to challenge our vendors to utilise the markets once we have undertaken the necessary repairs to these markets,” McKenzie charged.

He was speaking on Friday at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Clark's Town market and the opening of the Clark's Town Transportation Centre. Both facilities share the same plot of land in the Trelawny sugar belt community.

The local government minister, who lauded chairman of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, Councillor Colin Gager, for his outstanding leadership of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, disclosed that in recent weeks the parish has benefited from some $30 million in allocations to two markets in the parish.

“Trelawny is fortunate because you have two markets that have benefited over the last couple of weeks. We provided some $10 million to help complete the work on the Falmouth market. So, between Falmouth and Clark's Town, you have taken nearly $30 million already on markets increase in Trelawny. What a fortunate parish you are,” McKenzie emphasised.

“Already the municipal corporation has gotten half of the money to start the work in the market and the next time I come back, I will come back to start a second phase when I open a brand-new market here in Clark's Town for the community and its environs.”

McKenzie then congratulated taxi operators for utilising the transportation centre.

“I want to commend the operators, the many drivers who have committed themselves to use the facility and they are using it, and we must congratulate them and commend them,” McKenzie said.

Phase one of the infrastructure work began last year, including construction of parking bays for the transport centre and sanitary conveniences, as well as paving and the erection of perimeter fencing.

Mayor Gager was elated over the two developments in Clark's Town.

“I am quite pleased as mayor of Falmouth to officially welcome you to this significant juncture, the opening Clark's Town Transport Centre and the ground-breaking for the Clark's Town Market,” Gager remarked.

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