Ministry of Works pussyfooting with $1.7 million Kingstown project – Francis
Julian Francis, the minister of transport and works has criticised his ministry for pussyfooting around a $1.7 million project meant to clean up the streets of Kingstown.
The minister was speaking at the launch of celebrations for the Kingstown Board’s 122nd anniversary on Monday when he said that the vending situation in the city could not be allowed to get worse than it is.
Francis made reference a project which includes four different areas in Kingstown intended to be outfitted to house vendors.
“We have $1.7 million dollars. It’s released already from the ministry of finance. It was released last year and the ministry of works just pussyfoot with the project,” he said.
Francis described the Kingstown Central Market as a monstrosity, which has forced vendors outside due to the heat it retains inside during the day.
“It’s 11 o clock in the morning and we can feel the heat coming through this space. We could have spent this money building a nice friendly Caribbean market and have the vendors happier than they are today,” he said on Tuesday.
The minister said that “the city cannot hold anything else. If more vendors come on the street, and the way we operate as vendors, traffic in Kingstown — pedestrian traffic particularly so — will come to a stand still and we will have more emergencies on the streets of Kingstown”.
And under the $1.7 million project, the old meat market, the old vegetable market, the current meat market and the former customs long room have been earmarked for renovations so that it can house vendors.
These renovations include repairing the roof on the old vegetable market and gutting the temporary fish market and putting stalls inside.
Francis noted that the old vegetable market had sustained damage from Hurricane Tomas and some stalls have since been rebuilt in the facility but “because of the slowness of the ministry of works and the pussyfooting in the ministry of works, the money was released and we didn’t put on the roof on it and…that is going to get done this year or in January”.
He also said that a portion of the Customs and Excise long room has been earmarked to house some vendors.
“…We are going to break the walls facing Greaves, put in some big doors like Market, pull up and close down; and we are going to put vendors in them. So four different areas in town, we are going to spend 1.7 million to clean it up,” the minister said.
Francis said that he did to want to have another meeting with vendors until the ministries of works and finance come to an understanding as to how the money is being spent.
He also said that he will be pushing his ministry to carry out the project as he wants it started before the end of 2019. And persons should see a lot of work being done, if not completed, by Christmas.
The minister said that once work is underway, he will have a meeting with all vendors in Kingstown.