JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Construction of 170 vending stalls at the Black River Market in St. Elizabeth is to begin shortly, following the signing of a $16.76 million contract, to undertake the works.
  • The project forms part of the Government’s major redevelopment programme for markets across the island.
  • It is being financed from $25 million allocated by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) for this second phase of the Black River Market Rehabilitation Project.

Construction of 170 vending stalls at the Black River Market in St. Elizabeth is to begin shortly, following the signing of a $16.76 million contract, to undertake the works.

The project forms part of the Government’s major redevelopment programme for markets across the island.

It is being financed from $25 million allocated by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) for this second phase of the Black River Market Rehabilitation Project.

The contract, which was awarded to Tank-Weld Limited for the construction, transportation and installation of the market stalls, was signed during a ceremony at the offices of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development in Kingston on April 16.

The signatories included: Portfolio Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott; State Minister in the Ministry, Colin Fagan; Member of Parliament for South West St. Elizabeth, Hugh Buchanan; Mayor of Black River and Chairman, St. Elizabeth Parish Council, Councillor Everton Fisher; Director of Projects, TEF, Christopher Miller; and Director, Tank-Weld Limited, Louis Aiken.

Mr. Arscott noted that the Black River market is one of 25 key markets across the island that the Government has identified for redevelopment, in partnership with the respective local authorities.

“By doing this, each Council will eventually have a facility which supports the economic needs of the small independent entrepreneurs within their jurisdictions as well as providing a steady and welcome source of revenue for the Councils’ coffers,” he said.

He noted that the Black River market, which is among the first set of markets to be developed under the rehabilitation programme, is expected to be a state-of-the-art facility.

“The days of ropes, cords, tarpaulin and packing of produce on the ground, are not features of a modern society. I have mandated the technical team to include in all future designs, proper waste management systems, sustainable rain water harvesting facility, solar panels for electricity, so that our markets can be efficient economic centres,”

Mr. Arscott said.

The Minister noted that consumers are being given prime consideration, noting that the aisles of the market will be well laid out with clearly identified areas, adequate parking, bathroom facilities, and food service areas.

“We are using this project as a benchmark for the new parochial markets which will cater to a diverse mix of entrepreneurs such as farmers, vendors, craftsmen, cooks and transport operators,” Mr. Arscott said.

The stalls will be designed to accommodate two or four vendors in one unit. They will be designated for the accommodation of haberdasheries, as well as ground provisions, and fruits and vegetables.

The remaining funds ($8.24 million) for the second phase of the Black River Market Rehabilitation Project, will be used for colour coding and zoning the market area to identify the types of goods that will be allowed in specific locations; and for installing utilities such as electricity and water.

In the meantime, Mr. Buchanan welcomed the initiative, noting that the completion of the market will see “a lot more order in the town” as vendors will be off the streets, thereby reducing congestion.

The Member of Parliament said he was pleased that the modern market structure will serve as “an example that other markets will want to be like”.

Councillor Fisher also expressed satisfaction that the project was now progressing, following delays.

The first phase of the project was completed in April 2013 at a cost of $31.5 million, and entailed the construction of a new open steel-framed structure.

At an overall cost of $68 million, the project is scheduled for completion by August of this year.
It is being financed by contributions from the Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries; Local Government and Community Development; the Constituency Development Fund (CDF); and the TEF, as well as private donations.

Another $10 million is to come from the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) for the third phase of the project. This will include the construction of sanitary conveniences, and a meat shop.