WATCH: Stony Hill Market vendors say lack of electricity killing business, threaten to stop paying fees
When the new-look Stony Hill Market in west rural St Andrew was unveiled last November, vendors expressed pleasure at the rehabilitation of the facility, noting that they would now have a more spacious and welcoming environment to conduct business. However, that reportedly hasn’t panned out.
The vendors at the market are at their wits’ end over a number of issues at the facility which they say are affecting their business.
Chief among the issues, they say, is lack of electricity at the facility, which has shortened their business hours.
“We have been here since November. We didn’t have any light until January, and from January we have the light two months to three months, and from that the light gone again,” a distraught vendor, Tia, told OBSERVER ONLINE.
“We have been paying market fees and we not getting any good argument about the light. The supervisor that work up here told us we don’t need light to sell because we (should) pack up by certain hours,” she continued, declaring “It’s not fair for us to be paying market fees and we not getting light.”
According to the vendors, the lack of electricity has forced them to shut up shop as early as 5pm, hours earlier than their normal closing times.
“By 5 o’clock we have to come out because in here is very dark… remember any one can run through one of the market gate and hold we up (because of the darkness) so it nuh mek sense kotch,” another vendor said.
The situation has put a severe dent in their bottom line, the Tia added.
“Usually, a person coming home from work like 6 or 7 o’clock would stop and buy a piece of yam, pumpkin etc, but now they are afraid to come in here without the light,” she said.
“What we normally sell in one day it takes us now a whole day to sell,” a male vendor interjected, putting into context how severely the issue has impacted sales.
Among the other issues at the facility, the vendors say, are theft and a leaking roof.
“From them done the market this a gwaan, because dem say dem give we big pretty market. Ah the worst market dem give we, better we in our old market,” another vendor said.
It cost the vendors some $8,000 in fees per month to operate at the market. But yet they say their appeals to the authorities to address the issues have fallen on deaf ears. They have threatened to stop paying market fees if the issues are not addressed.
“Nobody nah come to give we nuh justice, so we decide that we not paying market fees. So before we stop paying market fees, we do this (speak with the media),” said the vendor.