Local Gov't 2016 : Musgrave Market in deplorable condition
Outstanding vending fees have derailed efforts by the Portland Parish Council to effect needy repairs to the Musgrave Market in Port Antonio, according to Deputy Mayor Benny White.
White admitted that the market has been in a deplorable state for more than three years. This is in spite of the the facility having undergone extensive repairs some seven years ago.
"We inherited a market that underwent major repairs, but of a poor quality," said White.
"As it now stands, the roof is leaking heavily and that has been an ongoing situation. From time to time, we carry out a little repair to correct the varied problems, but our efforts are hampered by a shortage of cash as vendors are not complying with the payment of vending fees. We have a situation wherein persons are stealing water and electricity, which puts a serious strain on the council," White added.
The council spent approximately $45 million in 2008 to repair the market.
White said that vendors owe the council approximately $1 million in vending fees and the vendors' failure to pay market fees is the reason for the state of the market.
However, Monica Thompson, a spokesperson for the vendors, said that whenever it rains the entire market is flooded - forcing them to hurriedly secure their goods from been damaged.
"Failure on the part of anyone to pay vending fees will result in them been evicted," said Thompson, who has been selling craft items at the market since 1984,
"Even if it rains for a month, we still have to pay our vending fees. And whenever it rains, we have to shut down our stalls and secure our goods. They are aware of the leaking roof and they are also aware that a major section of the market is without electricity for more than a year now. I operate six stalls and I have to pay $1,800 each week, whether or not I sell an item. Many of us are unable to operate after 5 p.m. as there is no light," she told THE STAR.
It costs $300 to operate a stall at the Musgrave Market per week. Approximately 120 vendors operate from the market on full-time basis, while an additional 40 persons operates stalls three to four days per week.