Mon Repos market vendors praise government for rehabilitation works

Displaced vendors at the Mon Repos market will soon be able to utilise their structures on the completion of the $10 million rehabilitation works being undertaken by the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development.

Minister Hon. Nigel Dharamlall told DPI the Ministry decided to upgrade the facility after learning of its dilapidated state.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Hon. Nigel Dharamlall

“We will be rehabilitating fences, roofs, creating bigger washrooms with much better services.  We will also look at the drainage within the markets and the basic flow of people in the market and that will only be the first phase because we intend to go to different phases with these markets.”

This initiative is part of the Government’s overall commitment to create an enabling environment for business. The Minister noted too that the upgrades will make provisions to stem COVID-19 transmission.

“We would like to see improved services… uplift the standards of this market which will contribute to economic value. We live now in a Covid environment so we ask too that certain protocols be put in place.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Chan Singh, a vendor, said she is grateful for the works as she believes the derelict structure had hampered her sales over the years.

“It is good for us because you can move someone from one place and another will take it over and that can be a challenge, especially if you have loyal customer. It does be hard cause sometimes you buy these things and you have to find money to pay for it,” she explained.

Ms. Singh said she has been vending for about 2o years and had been plying her trade consistently over the past six years. Despite the conditions at the market, the woman said she has continued to sell as she is the primary caregiver of her granddaughter.

“I have been looking after my grandchild since her parents decided to separate when she was a baby – little over a month after she was born and now, she is six-years-old and that is purely due to me. So, when I come to sell here on Saturday, that is what I used to look after myself and pay my bills and it can be hard.”

Mr. Prem Persaud, a fish vendor said he had experienced similar challenges at the market. However, he relayed that he is more concerned about the operations of the Mon Repos/ La Reconnaissance Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), which has oversight of the market and has not been properly addressing challenges.

Though he has only been vending for a year, Mr. Persaud said cleanliness at the market is crucial to food safety and is a concern for vendors and consumers alike.

Meanwhile, Minister Dharamlall acknowledged the NDC’s shortcomings which prompted the Ministry to provide training which he said is crucial for local government organs to effectively execute their mandate.

“This Mon Repos/La Reconnaissance Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) does have a market committee which is responsible for the management and maintenance of the market but they do not have a lot, so what Government is basically doing is to help them to get stronger so that they can better be able to provide service.”

The Mon Repos market was established in the 1940s where persons from as far away as Parika and Berbice came to ply their trades, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. The market is said to be one of the largest in the country and can accommodate around 400 stalls. It also boasts an external vending area opposite the main facility, with an additional 200-plus stalls.

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