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Restoration work on Coronation Market in downtown Kingston is scheduled to commence on Monday, June 21, Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications, and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, has disclosed.
A portion of the market, situated in the heart of the commercial downtown Kingston district, was torched during the violent upsurge in sections of West Kingston in May.
Speaking at Wednesday’s (June 16) post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House, Mr. Vaz, who indicated that the cost of the damage was a preliminary figure, said that telecommunications firm, Digicel, will fund the short term first phase of the repairs to the tune of $100 million.
This phase, he told journalists, included the installation of a new roof and floor, as well as a water system, which will include the collection of rainwater for re-use.
The works are expected to be completed by August, and will facilitate vendors being able to operate in a “much more enhanced atmosphere.”
Mr. Vaz said that Digicel’s input resulted from their decision to fast-track a commitment, made several months ago, to assist with the market’s refurbishing, following a tour of the facility by company Chairman, Dennis O’Brien, and Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for West Kingston, the Hon. Bruce Golding, as well as other Government officials.
While admitting that the vendors would suffer “minor displacement” consequent on the work, the Information Minister indicated that Kingston’s Mayor, Senator Desmond McKenzie, had assured him that the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) had identified an area for them to be temporarily housed, with minimum dislocation.
Regarding other activities, such as repairs to stalls and sanitary conveniences, Mr. Vaz advised that these would be executed in the medium to long term, and would form part of an overall comprehensive plan to be undertaken by a committee incorporating representatives of the government in partnership with the private sector, and involving multilateral agencies with whom Jamaica has relationships.
He said that the government had been having discussions with the private sector, with a view to using the opportunity to really look at the needs and improvements that Coronation Market requires, in order to serve all of the vendors and farmers, and these meetings have been going well.
Regarding the remaining $900 million required to complete the work, Mr. Vaz, said that while the administration had “minimal money” to inject into the initiative, members of the private sector and multilaterals were “at the table”.
“It’s a comprehensive plan, and we will be in a position to speak better about it as soon as these discussions are concluded. So there is a plan that will be coming forward, in terms of what will be the requirements of government, and what the committee is recommending,” Mr. Vaz assured.