Jamaica Gleaner / WESTERN BUREAU:
Falmouth’s mayor, Councillor Colin Gager, is saying an emphatic ‘no’ to vending in Water Square, which is usually the hub of commercial activities during the Christmas season in the Trelawny parish capital, which is famous for its Bend Down Market.
“I have fought long and hard for the square to be pedestrianised and be rid of vendors, and I will not have it any other way,” said Gager, who noted that vending will never be allowed in the popular town centre as long as he is mayor.
Gager said his decision has been communicated in meetings with the present vendors, who were asked to pass on the message to others who are seasonal vendors.
“An area in proximity to the present market will be the area designated for vending,” said Gager. “Persons who are caught vending in the square will have their goods seized, and face prosecution.”
Interestingly, the new $240 million market, which is being constructed on reclaimed mangrove land on Market Street and which has been mired in controversy from its contract signing in 2015, will not be opened until January 2018, as Gager has refused to take over the market with an inadequate number of stalls.
“We have since had discussions with Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and decisions arrived at,” said Gager, in regard to the opening of the new market. “The municipal corporation will build more stalls, and PAJ will continue infrastructure improvements, especially in relation to accommodation for Bend Down Market vendors. The PAJ will also be completing the installation of perimeter lighting.”