KSAMC under fire for treatment of Constant Spring vendors

KSAMC under fire for treatment of Constant Spring vendors

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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OPPOSITION spokeswoman on local government Dr Angela Brown Burke yesterday blasted the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) for its handling of vendors at the Constant Spring Market in St Andrew.

The vendors, who last Thursday received written notices from the (KSAMC) to vacate the market on September 30, mounted a demonstration to protest the decision.

The KSAMC had announced early last year that the market would be sold to facilitate the expansion of the Constant Spring corridor as part of Government's road improvement project.

According to the vendors, they were given verbal notices to vacate the market by March 31, 2018.

In June, attorney Bert Samuels filed an injunction in the Supreme Court that the notice was “inadequate for the vendors to uproot themselves and find a new location”.

A 14-day injunction was granted on June 10 by Justice Grace Henry McKenzie.

“They came here legally and they have been paying their fees and we are still collecting from them. Come on, I believe that the mayor, the minister (of local government), the prime minister, and the member of parliament should do better. Shame on them, shame on them,” Dr Brown Burke said during a meeting with the vendors and Rev Garnett Roper.

Dr Brown Burke said having heard the vendors' cry prior to last week's written notices by the KSAMC, she had expected that the corporation would have found a solution to the problem as well as have dialogue with those affected.

“If it is that you are looking to put a series of shops or whatever here, why can't they be considered. Why can't they be brought into the conversation so that they know?” she asked.

“When individuals don't feel as if they are a part of the country the only thing left for them to do is take up arms. That's the only thing left for them to do. Where are they sending these individuals who have made a livelihood here for years, some of them for almost all of their lives; are we saying to them that they do not count? Why are we telling them to go and take up arms against the State? Why are we saying that? Is this the Government that really cares, or is it that they don't believe that the votes are significant enough because they come from all over the country? Listen man, these are Jamaicans, and we have a responsibility to help them find somewhere to go because they did not capture this piece of place,” said Dr Brown Burke, a former mayor of Kingston.

She explained that when the resolution came for the accommodation of the road and for the sale of the market, the councillors who had moved it made it clear that the vendors must be taken into consideration.

“… The truth is that the municipality — the KSAMC — has a responsibility not just to provide markets where they make money but provide for vending across the city, and orderly vending, and that's how we saw the Constant Spring Market,” she said.

Noting that it was still not too late for the authorities to find a solution, Dr Brown Burke said she was shocked when she learnt that there was no formal discussion with the vendors.

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