Latest killings leave market vendors fearful

June 23, 2017
The area in the Coronation Market from which Dane McDonald and Sonia Bennett operated.
The area in the Coronation Market from which Dane McDonald and Sonia Bennett operated.

The sound of George Banton's 'Awake Zion, Awake' blasting from a stereo on wheels seemed insufficient to dissipate the sombre mood that loomed over Coronation Market after two vendors were gunned down late Wednesday night.

They were identified as 34-year-old Dane McDonald, and 54-year-old Sonia Bennett.

The murders came on the heels of a spate of robberies at the market that have left vendors in a state of fear.

When THE WEEKEND STAR visited the market yesterday, some of the vendors and security personnel said that they were begging the authorities to increase police presence in that area.

"This market here nuh really safe. It needs some tighter security than what they have inside here. They need to act with some urgency for the securities who are here can't face the badman dem with the guns and those things," a security guard who works with the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) said. "We are human beings like everybody else."




He said that there have been many instances when the market security would summon the Darling Street Police without getting a response.

"Is only one police come sometimes and we can't pressure him because a him alone come in the market," the guard said.

A vendor who sells metres away from where the latest shooting took place said she has thought extensively of giving up selling there, but said she has no other means of income.

"I have six children to feed, so mi have to still come," the vendor said.

The pallets on which Bennett had her stall was covered with a blue tarpaulin and the boards from her dismantled stall stacked neatly beside them.

A vendor who sits opposite to Bennett's spot remembers her as an honest person.

"Most time a she look over the stall for me when mi gone do something and she was very honest," the vendor recalled. "I really don't feel happy in myself."

He said: "When we come out a daytime, we just have to pray because we are afraid and we don't know what will happen next. I am really tired of this."

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