'A Dunn's River Falls wi deh'
Spalding and May Pen market vendors bemoan flooding, potholes, uncomfortable selling conditionsMonday, November 29, 2021
BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON
VENDORS in the Spalding and May Pen markets in Clarendon are pleading with the Clarendon Municipal Corporation (CMC) to address their selling space, the improper drainage system that causes major flooding in the facilities and results in filthy selling conditions.
When the Jamaica Observer visited the parish markets last week, the vendors at May Pen market said flooding, potholes and improper drainage were some of the drawbacks that made selling uncomfortable.
“When the rain fall, it would be like a Dunn's River Falls we deh. Di whole a the gutter dem a leak too,” said fish and clothing vendor at May Pen market.
Another fish vendor, who gave his name as Brown man, also called for an improvement of the gutter.
“The gutter wan't to clean, it's nasty. When rain fall the water kick back, but like how Christmas a come me hope dem clean up the place,” he said while pointing to the messy gutter.
A further walk through the May Pen Market showed scores of vendors under tents with their produce laid out in front of them, while others were selling in zinc-covered buildings.
One vendor, who gave her name only as Deloris, explained that since selling there for the past 47 years, she saw improvements being done by authorities in her early years, however, more work is needed.
“Only in the first part. Now, most of the time when it rains, the water settles. The ground just not level in here,” the 72-year-old told the Observer.
A 48-year-old vendor, who asked to be recognised as Delcy, has been working in the market for 29 years said she has never seen improvements in the facility and the drains needed urgent cleaning to mitigate the flooding.
“Them can spend some time clearing the drains in here. When the rain fall there is a lot of water. We haffi deh ya a skip water,” she said.
Another vendor, who gave her name as Ceon, has worked in the market for 20 years. She, too, had a similar plight.
“All the water comes over here when it rains. Mi cyaan move go anywhere, mi haffi stay here so till it dry or when the rain done mi take the broom and sweep it away. I asked them to fill out the potholes and all now. But yet still mi a pay mi $700 market fee per week,” she said.
At Spalding Market, produce vendors were selling on both sides of the driveway leading into the market, while those selling clothes were inside a building at the market area.
Majority of the vendors, however, were mum about the state of the vending area.
The vendors who spoke with the Observer said they are to be selling in the building, but it is too small to facilitate them.
“We want the market fi fix up and develop more so that we can have more space,” said 77-year-old Orlando Walters who has been selling there for three years. “Mi seek shelter somewhere else when rain fall because the market is not enough to hold all of us.”
Walter's comment was corroborated by another vendor who did not wish to be named.
“This is one of the worse markets in Jamaica. Everybody selling here is exposed to the sun, rain and wind. That likkle space cannot hold all the vendors. If all the vendors are supposed to be in there, where do you put the people that sell clothes?”
Dorothy Green, another vendor, added that help was needed to build up the place.
In 2012, phase one of Spalding Market was completed, which included accommodation for vendors of farm produce and haberdashery items, space for a poor relief office, a tax collection centre and bathroom facilities. Additionally, the area was paved to facilitate shops for apparel vendors and parking.
At that time, then Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said the second phase would see the development of a second floor of the building at a cost of $30 million. It would include a food court, haberdashery and shops for sale or lease.
Meanwhile, chief executive officer at Clarendon Municipal Corporation (CMC) Rowhan Blake said plans have been implemented to improve the standard of all markets in the parish.
The other vending areas include Rocky Point Market, Chapleton Market, Kellits Market and Frankfield Market.
Addressing the concerns aired by some of the vendors at the May Pen Market, Blake said, the operation of the vendors is the primary cause of several issues.
“The areas that the vendors are complaining about were initially designed for a driveway and based on how they have constructed some of their shops, they are blocking some of the drainage and that is why they are experiencing certain flooding when it rains,” Blake said, adding that the entire market will be restructured, and a section has been paved with proper drainage for the relocation of vendors.
In relation to the Spalding market, while Blake did not state the next phase of the market to be completed, he said it was developed with the support of [former] Member of Parliament (MP) Richard Azan and they are now working to complete the second phase.
“There is another part that should go on the top of that building. We are working with the current MP [Phillip Henriques] to seek funding to do another phase of that market. That is the issue they are facing,” Blake said.