Local Gov't 2016 - Port Maria Market unfit for use
The Port Maria Market in St Mary is outdated and unfit for purpose.
This is according to the parish’s chief public health inspector and many of the disillusioned traders who use the decrepit structure.
Some of the 15 vendors who regularly use the facility described the building as ‘dirty’, and complained that conditions were so bad they were forced to depend on loyal customers rather than passing traffic. They say this is because shoppers were reluctant to enter the market and beef shed, which lost a large part of its roof in 2012.
Weekly fees are low, ranging from $300 per stall to $1,000 for a shop, and the local parish council, which runs the market, have announced plans to construct a new building in 2017.
However, vendors such as Tony Jones remain sceptical.
“Even though St Mary has political representatives, it’s a neglected parish. They do nothing much, and that’s what we see happening here. One has to really hope those who are in power now will do something to help because there’s nobody here on a Saturday," Jones told THE STAR.
“All the vendors have to go onto the street if they want to sell off their goods, and one of the contributing factors is the condition of the market. If it was fixed-up, the people would come.”
Jones’ comments were echoed by another trader who gave his name as Foster.
“This market has been dormant from in the 1970s. Past and present politicians --MPs members of the opposition, and mayors -- have come with plans, walked about, talked to us, and made promises," he said.
“They keep saying the same thing, but you can see the state the market is in. Nobody is coming, and the place is unclean so people turn back. The market is out on the street, so when we come here, it’s like we’re in a world of our own, with nobody to represent us.”
St Mary’s chief public health inspector, Albert Brown, said the place is not fit to be used as a market.
“The health department has been at the parish council for around 10 years about bringing the market up to public health standards but they have a very serious challenge because the vendors have outgrown that space,” Brown said.
Responding to the criticisms, chairman of the parish council Mayor Levan Freeman said a proposal to develop a brand new market at a cost of more than $50 million was submitted to the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development earlier this month.
Freeman said that if the proposal is accepted, construction could commence early next year. He said that once a new market is completed there will be a ban on street vending.