Minister of State for Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Colin Fagan, said that focus will be placed on the upgrading and modernization of the country’s markets to make them more appealing to the consumers they serve.
He noted that a number of the island’s 85 markets are in need of serious renovations and aesthetic modifications. “Many are in need of proper storage facilities (cold and otherwise), upgraded drainage and sanitary conveniences, as well as attractive vending areas,” Mr. Fagan said.
The State Minister was making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 11.
He said that in addition to improving the physical infrastructure, the Ministry will also provide institutional strengthening for key stakeholders such as vendors and market staff; utilize energy-saving bulbs, natural lighting and petrol alternatives; and support employment and income for farmers, rural women and small scale entrepreneurs.
"We expect to develop markets that work for the communities and the parishes where they are located through the co-operation of many different individuals and groups. These groups would include agricultural extension officers, community economic development organizations, consumer groups, churches, schools, and farmers organizations,” Mr. Fagan said.
He informed that already, a number of markets in urban and rural townships are being transformed into more viable, attractive, energy saving enterprises through partnership with a number of organisations and individuals.
Among the markets being improved are: the Rocky Point Market in Clarendon; Musgrave Market in Port Antonio, Portland; Black River Market in St. Elizabeth; and the Port Maria Market in St. Mary.
These four projects, he said, represent significant contributions from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) of approximately $160 million, Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Tank Weld and the respective communities. The work being done, he said, will make the markets “the envy of any people in the Caribbean."
Turning to other projects, Mr. Fagan told the House that the first phase of rehabilitation of the Spaulding’s Market in Clarendon is near completion and “will soon enable the vendors to get off the streets of the town and cater to their customers in a much more user-friendly environment."
He also informed that plans are in place for the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to re-locate the Falmouth market in Trelawny and transform it into a facility suitable for a resort town.
In addition, discussions are to be held with the St. James and St. Mary parish councils for improvements to the Charles Gordon and Highgate markets, respectively.
Mr. Fagan commended Digicel for partnering with the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) to transform the Coronation Market, making it the premier shopping destination in the downtown market district.