Regional

Enforce tough rules at Annotto Bay market, vendors urge

BY JEDIAEL CARTER
Staff reporter
carterj@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, November 05, 2017

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Vendors at the Metcalfe market in Annotto Bay, St Mary, are urging the local municipality to enforce merchandising rules throughout the township.

“Everybody fi come inside the market come sell,” a vendor who identified himself as Euton told the Jamaica Observer last week.

“Weh me would a like fi see the MP do [is]... fix up the market, get everybody off the streets, get all dog, all goat out of the market and get a security guard to keep the market safe so that the market people them have them things protected,” he said.

According to Euton, some vendors have gradually moved from the market to sell along the sidewalks and in other locations.

When the Sunday Observer toured the community, vendors could be seen peddling their wares before supermarkets and other business establishments. Carts and crates filled with vegetables and ground provision impeded pedestrians, sometimes forcing them into the roadway.

Another vendor who asked not to be named said there needs to be improvement in the market's infrastructure, which he said has deteriorated over time.

“The market want fix up too,” he stated. “All them things deh need fi sort out.”

“Dog and goat live in the market ... all mad people live in there,” he continued.

“The market need to have a watchman and all a dem something here need fi come out of the market,” Euton chimed in. “Them need to fix up the market good and put some locker in. you have some locker in there already; it only want some door and make some lock that the people who have them stall, everybody can occupy each locker to lock in them things when evening time come.”

“It nuh mek no sense we get MP and councillor fi dem sit an' do nothing,” he stated.

The market was built in 1896 — roughly 121 years ago – and has served as a means of survival for many members of the community and its environs.

Meanwhile, Opal Simmonds, the attendant who manages the restroom by the market, said that more needs to be done to deter people from urinating in public.

“You have a courthouse right there, you have a bathroom here, and most a di taxi man dem when dem ready, them pass them urine [outside],” she said.

“We need the police them to sort out that; either you try give them a ticket or something,” she continued.

The restroom services market vendors, taxi drivers and other people who frequent the market district.

Pointing out that her work is “tasking”, Simmons said her pay is a measly “change” that she has to use to survive.

“Me need some more money. Me a run this bathroom in Annotto Bay here and my salary a month is $2,000, and the taxi man dem use it free and the outsiders them will pay like a $50 for the tissue,” she told the Sunday Observer. “Me have to find the tissue, me have to buy chemical to clean the bathroom, so me need some more. them need to pay me more because that too cheap right now.

“...to manage a sanitary place like that you have to have strong guts to do it. Sometimes you go in there, people go in there and leave them mess in the bathroom — them nuh flush it, them a see them menses and them leave them pad; when you look behind one corner you have to take it up and clean up in there. So me need the Government to do better for me,” she said.

Though the proceeds from each time an “outsider” uses the restroom cushions her income, Simmons told the Sunday Observer that she is responsible for purchasing cleaning agents for the restroom.

“Like say me collect money, it just go back to cleaning the bathroom. Sometimes fi di day me out here an me have me son a go all-age school without a father, an me will make a $500 and me try fi squeeze fi him lunch money from it,” Simmons stated.

Asked how she survives, she said: “Me haffi survive so me make it work; what me make like over the weekend me put together and finance myself.”

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