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Rehabilitation of Markets- Priority for 2023/2024 Fiscal Year

The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development will sustain its comprehensive Markets Rehabilitation Programme during the current fiscal year.

Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie said upcoming projects include the Savanna-la-Mar Market in Westmoreland and the Charles Gordon Market, St. James.

“The projects to come include the Savanna-La-Mar Market Phase 1, which will cost $20 million. This is part of a $70 million project, to be built out over two years. Phase One of the Charles Gordon Market in St. James, slated to cost $8 million and the reconstruction of Highgate Market in St. Mary,” he announced during his contribution to the 2023/24 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

“Attention will also be paid to the Alexandria Market in St. Ann, and the Buff Bay Market in Portland. The first phase of the Buff Bay Market will cost over $20 million, and this is part of a 3-year, $120 million rehabilitation programme for this market.”

The Markets Rehabilitation Programme introduced two years ago in a bid to transform and repair the public facilities.

According to the Minister “markets are important economic hubs that create contact between urban and rural communities. They have much to contribute to the rural development process”.

During the last financial year, the Stony Hill Market in St. Andrew was completed at a cost of $7m. The Clarks Town Market project in Trelawny was finally completed and works at the Hopewell Market in Hanover were done at a cost of $24m.

There are more than 35 markets in Jamaica, many of which were built more than 100 years ago.

“The struggle to build out and maintain a modern network of markets is intense. We grapple with the reality of markets being burned down in whatever circumstances, as we work to build new ones. As you are aware, we are working to rebuild the Highgate Market (St. Mary), which burned down last year,” noted Minister McKenzie.

“The drawings for the Highgate are almost completed. The people of Alexandria, your wait is coming to an end because the funds will be provided in this financial year.”

The most recent market fire occurred on May 28 at the Musgrave Market in Port Antonio, Portland. The facility as well as nearby facilities were extensively damaged by the blaze.

The Minister added that once the facilities are completed, he expects vendors to operate inside them to earn their livelihoods while making their contribution to public order.

“I also want to indicate that consultations are now being facilitated, with the objective of developing a unified approach to vending. This will ensure that once and for all, the development and expansion of our markets will occur by consensus, in tandem with the re-establishment of public order.”