ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Treat the relocation of Constant Spring Market vendors with sensitivity

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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Dear Editor,

The Jamaica Umbrella Groups of Churches (JUGC) is generally supportive of the infrastructural developments taking place in Jamaica at this time especially bearing in mind its overarching thrust and goal of further unlocking the country's growth potential. As such, there is recognition of the opportunities for meaningful economic development which, from our vantage point, must embrace principles of inclusion and equity. We implore government and stakeholders, including investors, to always respect the rights of the people and to be proactive in following the laws, regulations, policies and codes in the interest of all.

A recent visit and conversation with the vendors who are being removed from the Constant Spring Market has given us reason to call for an approach to the situation that will leave no doubt that they have suffered no injustice. In this regard, issues of appropriate relocation and just compensation must receive proper treatment both in terms of process and settlement.

It was not lost on us that several vendors have been at that location before the market was built. Some have established, over time, longstanding customers that they have served and continue to serve.

Also noteworthy were the anecdotal references to intergenerational ownership of vending stalls and the pride of doing business in that location. There was a palpable sense of deep apprehension and uncertainty in their stories which need to be addressed.

The JUGC calls upon the relevant agencies bearing responsibilities for executing their relocation to treat this life-changing event with great sensitivity and care. To this end, we urge them to:

a) Ensure just compensation to all vendors;

b) Take into best consideration their request to be relocated to space identified at the rear of the market;

c) Allow them to continue in the market until after the Christmas season.

We wish to offer our ministry and support to the parties involved in relation to managing the change so that the process can be as humane and transparent as possible.

Adinhair Jones

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