Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, on Thursday (June 16) officially declared open the Clark’s Town Market Shops in Trelawny.
The five-shop facility, which also includes bathrooms and shower areas, was constructed at a cost of $14 million and was spearheaded by the Trelawny Municipal Corporation through funding from the Ministry.
The shop spaces are to be rented or leased to individual businesses.
The initiative formed part of a multi-phase redevelopment project of the Clark’s Town Market and Transportation Centre, which shares the same grounds.
During his address, Mr. McKenzie urged the community to protect the infrastructure, as they will be responsible for its use and operation.
“This Government of Prime Minister Andrew Holness recognises that vending in our markets plays a critical role in the development of the country, and quite a large number of Jamaicans, especially in rural Jamaica, depend on the market for their survival,” said Mr. McKenzie.
“So, the opening of this market is a clear indication of the commitment of the Government,” he added.
The Minister noted that included in this final phase of the initiative is the rehabilitation and construction of the market space and infrastructure. The facility will be able to accommodate up to 50 vendors, who will now be able to ply their wares in comfort.
“We put on new roof, upgraded the electrical works, repaired the stalls, repaired the meat market and the columns on the floors. We erected nine new stalls. We did a number of things to upgrade the facilities here at Clark’s Town Market,” Mr. McKenize explained.
He pointed out that phase one of the project was carried out some years ago. Approximately $6.5 million was spent to cover works that included concrete surfacing, the erection of signs, installation of benches and bus sheds.
Additionally, he said, follow-up work was undertaken for another $2.5 million to put in place a security booth, office building, drainage system and extensive repairs to the public sanitary facility.
The project is part of the Government’s commitment to improving the aesthetic appeal of markets across the island.
Resident, Marcia Smith, told JIS News that the new shops and overall upgrade of the market is a boon to the people of Clark’s Town on a whole.
“Right now, it will benefit the people a lot. To the situation and how it looks now, it is a good upliftment for the people. My daughter works here as well. So, it is a good outcome,” she noted.