Melrose Yam Park vendors fed up over facility's continued closureWednesday, October 13, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Two months after the Melrose Yam Park was ordered closed by the local health department, vendors say they are fed up and are demanding answers from the Manchester Municipal Corporation.
The facility was closed in August due to breaches detected by the health department during an inspection.
The vendors contend that the facility, which is owned by the municipal corporation, was neglected by the authority prior to the health inspection.
Carol “Shelly” McLean, a vendor for more than 20 years, said there is uncertainty as to when the facility will be reopened.
“We don't have nuh money. We are fed up now. We want to go back to work now… Our little savings done. We are not getting any good word as to when it is going to open,” McLean told the Jamaica Observer on Monday.
“It has been affecting me very badly, because right now the vendors are calling everyone and asking what is going on. We don't have any money. The [health] inspectors gave the parish council their opinion as to what they should do, and up until now the parish council is telling us that they are looking sponsors. I was told that the parish council was supposed to have a meeting with us this week, but I'm not sure which day,” added McLean.
She said the vendors are threatening to protest, just as they did when the facility was closed in August.
“They don't tell us when we are going to reopen or what they are doing for us. Right now a plan we a plan to go back to the street to protest. We are blind as to the next move as to what's going to happen. We are not getting any good word from them.
“Working at a place for 20 years and now they close it down, it is hard. What the yam park was closed down for, if it was being maintained it wouldn't reach that stage,” McLean argued.
Fellow vendor Ian “Chris” Taylor, who is the breadwinner for his family of seven, shared similar sentiments.
“It affects me in so many ways, but financially is the major one. Over the past three weeks me have to a turn to [relatives] for funds to provide for my family, because all the savings gone. I don't have any alternative.
“There is no one to represent us. Basically the people who should be representing us, as in councillors, they are the same parish council that neglect doing what the Ministry of Health has put in front of them to be done,” said Taylor.
But councillor for the Bellefield Division (People's National Party) Mario Mitchell told the Observer that, “All works to be done by the council was done.”
Mitchell, however, did not indicate when the health department would be requested to inspect the renovations which he said the municipal corporation had done.
When contacted, medical officer of health for Manchester, Dr Nadine Williams said vendors had been sensitised about their food handler's permit and food handling establishment licence.
She said the health department is awaiting communication from the municipality.
“When we get something from the parish council in writing to say that they are ready now for us to come back for a re-inspection, then we will return… We indicated to them [the vendors] about how to keep the shops in a satisfactory status and become licensed to operate,” said Williams.
She said once the improvements are made at the yam park the health department would be prepared and ready to go, “because we don't want them to be out of a job for any unduly long period of time”.