New Falmouth Municipal Market opens despite concerns by vendors, handcart operators “Bend Down” market up & running

Observer West reporter

Thursday, October 11, 2018

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny - The multimillion-dollar Falmouth Municipal Market finally opened on Monday following a number of missed opening dates going back to 2016, even as vendors are refusing to pay the one month deposit for the use of the facility requested by the Trelawny Municipal Corporation.

“We cannot afford to pay the one month deposit fee of $8,000 at the market as we don't know if people will go down there. We can't even afford the $2,000 each week,” one male vendor complained.

But chairman of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation Colin Gager was quick to explain that with the demand for the 700 spaces at the new facility, those who pay their deposits will be guaranteed a space.

“Once you pay that deposit that will guarantee your space in the market. So, if you don't come for four weeks you would still have your space because you have already paid for it. They (vendors) must choose whether they want to pay for it. Some have already paid,” disclosed Gager, who is also the mayor of Falmouth.

He added, however, that registered vendors will be allowed to operate at the facility without paying the required weekly fee of $2,000 for this week only.

Another sore point at the facility, where the areas designated for the shoes and clothes vendors are yet to be covered as promised by the corporation, is that only 10 handcarts will be allowed to transport goods in the facility, which will also be the new home of the popular 'bend down' market on Wednesdays.

“Handcart is a sore point and anybody who goes in the market will tell you how they push the carts recklessly. They hit down people and they mash up people's goods. We can't allow more than that amount of handcarts in the market. So, I am saying that inside the market, I will take 10 properly made, painted, good-looking handcarts that will be free to operate,” Gager stated.

Handcart operators will not be the only ones left without an income with the opening of the new market as several individuals who eke out a living by renting wooden stalls, will have to look elsewhere for a means of income.

Among them is Bradley Mendez, who has been renting stalls for a number of years.

“A it me live off. Them lick we out a business. Them say they don't want any handcart man and no stall down there, so we don't have anything to live by. Dem lick we off mi feet,” Menzie bemoaned.

Another man who gave his name only as Cheeko, who claimed that he has been renting stalls for nearly three decades, is also left without any immediate income.

“I don't know what I am going to do. The vendors from Kingston use to depend on me. What me going do for my living now? They never have any meeting with the stall man. What poor people fi duh?” he questioned.

But, Gager who revealed that new metal stalls are erected at the new facility, claimed that no stall owners showed up at any of the many meetings that representatives of the municipal corporation have held with a number of stakeholders over time.

“None of them (stall operators) came to those meetings,” Gager stressed.

He also disclosed that the official opening for the new facility, which was scheduled for this weekend, has been pushed back to a later date.

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