Jamaica Gleaner / WESTERN BUREAU:
Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis says he will be asking the St James Health Department to do a complete assessment of the city’s Old Shoe Market, which he believes poses a significant flooding risk due to blocked drains inside the facility.
Davis made the announcement on Monday, following a tour of the facility, which is located at the intersection of St James and Creek streets in downtown Montego Bay. The mayor was accompanied by several heads of department from the St James Municipal Corporation.
“It was not a pleasant sight, as people are living in the Old Shoe Market and water is running all over the place, which can be a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes,” he said. “I will be writing to the St James Public Health Department for them to pay a visit, to see what remedial action can be taken to make the place a bit more habitable for people to do business.”
According to the mayor, most of the buildings inside the facility are located atop the city drainage city, which is likely to interfere with the maintenance of the drains, which is integral to flood prevention.
“Most of the buildings in there have been built over the gully, so there are some chambers (drains) that from time to time need cleaning and they are not being cleaned. I am sure that what might be waiting to happen is a disaster where the city is flooded out one of these days,” Davis said.
The tour was part of a promise made by Davis in September when he stated that his administration would enter into discussions with the facility’s vendors to ensure that the market conforms to the corporation’s regulations. The Old Shoes Market is one of the city’s premier landmarks.
The St James Health Department recently raised concerns about the unhealthy state of affairs at the market, describing it as a breeding ground for rodents, also citing infrastructure issues.
Lennox Wallace, public health inspector for St James, recently declared his intention to target the facility with the Health Department’s ongoing rodent eradication programme.