Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie says the Government has taken a decision to set aside approximately J$150 million from the Budget for this financial year to improve and upgrade markets across the island.
McKenzie made the announcement last Friday while participating in the official opening ceremony for the new Clark's Town Transportation Centre in Trelawny. The minister also used the occasion to announce a $20-million renovation project for the town's market.
"Our markets are in desperate need of attention, and it is the obligation of the Government to ensure that we provide the necessary resources," explained McKenzie.
He went on to outline that his ministry also signed a $54-million contract to build a brand-new market in Port Maria in St Mary, earlier in the week, and released $15 million to complete the work on the Black River Market in St Elizabeth.
Additionally, the minister also committed $10 million to help complete the work on the Falmouth Market, which is slated to open later this month. It will facilitate the relocation of vendors from the Bend Down Market space, a major humbug in the town, which is now facing major expansion to strengthen its cruise shipping.
"So Trelawny has two markets that have benefited from the ministry, and I am challenging our vendors to utilise the markets once we have undertaken the necessary repairs," said McKenzie.
"We will be breaking ground [in Clark's Town] so that by the end of this month, construction will begin to give you a brand-new market to complement the transportation centre."
The construction of the Clark's Town Transportation Centre is a most welcome facility in that section of Trelawny as it will serve as a transportation hub for people living in Clark's Town and surrounding communities to include Falmouth, Albert Town, and Duncans.
"This is a major development for the parish of Trelawny and the town of Clark's Town, which is located in the heart of the Trelawny sugar belt and is a busy rural town," said Collen Gager, the mayor of Falmouth.
"The Trelawny Municipal Corporation has, over the years, been dedicated to the growth and development of the parish. Not only will the centre create a main space for public-transport operators, but it will also regulate the commute of passengers to and from this major town," added Gager.