Woman makes market her home
Port Antonio, Portland:
The discovery of a woman living in the Musgrave Market in Port Antonio has been condemned and heavily criticised by Mayor Paul Thompson, who is also displeased with the poor state of the facility.
The alarming discovery was made recently during a tour of the market to have a first-hand look at the many deficiencies and ongoing related issues, including rat infestation, no electricity, and garbage pile-up affecting vendors, who have complained bitterly about the perennial problems.
"I have never witnessed anything like this before," Thompson said.
"How could anyone allow or even sanction having someone taking up residence in the market, which is designed to accommodate vending? The sad part about the whole thing is that directors and the administrative staff have denied having any knowledge of her living at the market facility. This is simply unacceptable, and it will be interesting to hear what the market manager has to say about all of this."
According to the mayor, the living conditions and presence of the woman pose serious health risks to users of the facility as she is without a bathroom and a toilet. Against that background, the mayor said that efforts will be made to have the woman relocated to the Portland Infirmary, where she will be better accommodated.
After reportedly losing her house, which was destroyed by fire in 2009, fifty-eight-year-old Jasmine Hartley took up residence at the Musgrave Market with her earthly possessions of a single bed, a coal stove, a few pots and pans, and items of clothing.
Hartley, who told THE STAR that she gave birth to 19 children, pointed out that she fell on hard times and was forced to take up residence at the market in 2013. She is alleging that her stay at the facility was made possible after someone from the corporation gave her permission to do so.
"I have nowhere else to go," Hartley said.
"I am appealing for help, and anyone out there willing to assist me, I will be thankful. I do odd jobs for vendors at times to earn money to buy food. I am going through a rough period, and I only want to get back on my feet," she added.