Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has pledged J$15 million to assist with the new market in Falmouth, Trelawny, which is now under construction and which is slated to be opened in April.
Speaking at the official presentation of the Trelawny Local Sustainable Development Plan at the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, McKenzie said that the parish has not been getting its fair share of support over the years, particularly its markets, which are critical components of the parish.
"This fund will go towards allowing the final touches on the market that are badly needed," said McKenzie. "Falmouth is a traditional marketplace and not just for people in Falmouth. So it is our responsibility to do the things that are necessary to support persons who are making an honest living."
The minister says that the funds he has committed are part of an overall $30 million that is needed to complete the market before the deadline.
"We are creating a new market that is expected to run seven days a week and, therefore, we are building shops that persons will be able to operate non-stop," said Falmouth's mayor, Councillor Collin Gager.
Gager also noted that he intended to make the new market the first profitable one in the island by introducing a cashless system for vendors wanting to utilise the facility.
"We will be designing a cashless system. So everybody who is going down that market to peddle their wares will have a card to swipe at the entrance gate. If you swipe and there isn't any money, then no entrance," explained Gager.
"Furthermore, with the 700 new stalls for bend-down market, 90 new shop spaces for the food market, the installation of cameras and the employment of trained security guards, the costs to vendors will be upwards of $500 per week. It cannot be a market with a fee of $200," stated Gager.