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Residents of Port Maria and surrounding areas in St. Mary are to benefit from the construction of a new market in the town, valued at approximately $40 million.

Prime Minister, the Most. Hon. Portia Simpson Miller announced on Thursday night, February 21 that the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), has allocated $30 million towards the construction cost.

The Prime Minister was addressing residents at a Social Development Commission’s (SDC) Parish Forum, held at St. Mary High School.

The market will be a two-storey structure, with the bottom floor being used for ground provisions, while the top floor will have specialised retail shops.

In response to a call from the floor for a vehicle to boost the mobility of the police in the Highgate community, Mrs. Simpson Miller said by the end of March a twin cab pick-up truck will be allocated. She also promised that an ambulance will be assigned to the Port Maria Hospital, following a request from participants at the forum.

The Prime Minister outlined a number of projects that have been undertaken in the parish so far. These include:

Commissioning  of the Broadgate Water Supply System

Upgrading of the Agualta Vale water supply system

Upgrading of the Mason River water supply scheme

Rehabilitation of community centres in Charles Town, Mango Valley and Three Hills

Completion of the Fort George Road

Repair of Enfield Road

Patching of the road from Junction to the highway

Patching of road from Richmond to Kendal

Repairs to the Annotto Bay Hospital

Repairs to the Brainard Health Centre

The preparation of lands at Eden Park, in conjunction with Food for the Poor, for housing to relocate persons who were affected by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012

Mrs. Simpson Miller also informed the residents that discussions are currently being held between Civil Society groups and the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) regarding the development of heritage tourism in the parish.

“This is an area that can increase the earning potential of residents of the parish,” she said.