Local Gov't 2016 : Delinquent market vendors costing parish council millions
Vendors using markets in St Ann and not paying the required fees are costing the St Ann Parish Council millions of dollars monthly in potential earnings.
Of 11 markets in St Ann, the Ocho Rios, Brown's Town and St Ann's Bay facilities command most of the attention of the local parish council, as approximately 1,000 vendors operate out of them.
At the biggest market, Ocho Rios, THE STAR has discovered that only 148 of the 516 vendors, or 29 per cent, pay the weekly fee of $700.
This is according to figures for the month of September that have been obtained from the council.
At the parish's second biggest market, Brown's Town, the compliance rate stood at 69 per cent in September. The council's records show that 225 of the 326 vendors were paying the required fee.
In St Ann's Bay, the highest compliance rate was recorded, 73 per cent, with 114 of the 156 vendors fulfilling their obligations.
Mayor Desmond Gilmore said the parish council faces a problem as it relates to the payment for utilities, specifically at the Ocho Rios Market.
CHALLENGES PAYING UTILITIES
"One of the challenges we have is that it is difficult to get each shop and each customer to have their own meter, so we have a serious challenge in terms of paying utilities because it's not properly handled," Gilmore pointed out.
He said that the situation has negatively impacted the council's ability to carry out much-needed upgrading work at the market.
George Willy, who has been selling in the Ocho Rios Market for 20 years, complained of leaking roof whenever it rains.
"It not nice sometimes, because when rain fall it come een like a outa door we deh," Willy told THE STAR.
"Quite a lot of things need to be done. The roof waah fix and it low, so it mek di place hot, hot hot," he added.
Another vendor, Dawn I, who, like Willy, said one of her main concerns has to do with the toilet facilities.
"Sometimes when we're here, the toilet is closed. They say Sunday it closed and it close from Saturday night, but we still at the market," she pointed out.
According to her, things are rough and it's not feasible to travel home and come back to market the following day. In addition, she claimed the market toilets are overused.
"Ocho Rios is a big town and we have no public (sanitary) convenience here (in Ocho Rios), so it's the market toilet everybody use. So when it close, how it go with so many people in the town?" she questioned.