Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Government intends to spend approximately $80 million to rehabilitate the Negril Fruit & Vegetable Market in Westmoreland.
Mr. McKenzie toured the facility on Thursday, July 15, where he identified a number of issues.
He told journalists that due to the state of the market, vendors opt to ignore the facility and instead ply their trade out on the road. However, he said the rehabilitation work that is to commence on the market in short order will remedy the issues.
“It is a commitment we have given and it is a commitment that we are going to keep because it is important,” Mr. McKenzie said.
“The commitment of this Government is to ensure that we provide the kind of environment for our market folks to work in and for people to go and shop and feel comfortable,” he added.
Mr. McKenzie noted that the project will be a joint effort among the relevant stakeholders, including the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation and the Negril Chamber of Commerce.
He pointed out that rehabilitation of the Negril Fruit & Vegetable Market is part of the Government’s commitment to continue to improve markets across the country.
“We have just spent some $47 million building a brand-new market in Port Maria. We have spent a substantial amount of money on the Brown’s Town Market. We have even improved the conditions in the Black River Market,” Mr. McKenzie outlined.
In the meantime, the Negril Chamber of Commerce has committed to spend $1 million for the soil testing that is required for this process to move forward.
President of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Richard Wallace, noted that the Chamber is a longstanding advocate for the market and is delighted to partner with the Ministry on the upcoming rehabilitation project.
“So, we are very committed and happy to be a part of the project and we hope that within a short period we will see work starting,” he said.
For his part, Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Councillor Bertel Moore, is urging vendors to work and cooperate with the project, as it is for their own benefit.
He said all hands are on deck to move forward with the initiative to “complete this market in a fairly good time”.