Wed | Jun 19, 2024

Gov’t to restart talks on Portmore market

Published:Tuesday | May 28, 2024 | 12:08 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas presents copies of the municipality’s Local Sustainable Development Plan to Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie at the official opening of the new Portmore Municipal Building at Braeton Parkw
Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas presents copies of the municipality’s Local Sustainable Development Plan to Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie at the official opening of the new Portmore Municipal Building at Braeton Parkway, Portmore.

The Government is set to restart discussions with the Portmore City Municipality regarding the establishment of a modern market, a conversation initially started in 2021.

Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie made the announcement during his keynote address at the official opening of the new municipal building in Portmore, St Catherine, last week.

“I know that there is the need for a market in Portmore. We will restart ... the discussions on the location of the market,” McKenzie promised.

He added: “That was a commitment made by this administration and it is a commitment that we are going to fulfil once we can sign off on a suitable location.”

Two years ago, McKenzie, accompanied by Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas and officers from his ministry, toured a 12-acre plot of land in Gregory Park, which Thomas had committed for the establishment of the market. However, talks stalled when the Cedar Grove Citizens Association objected, citing concerns that the market would devalue their property, increase crime, and lead to issues such as garbage pile-ups.

Thomas has since proposed a section of Jamworld as the most suitable location for the market. McKenzie has yet to assess this site, but indicated his readiness to evaluate any new proposed location.

The need for a market – alongside other infrastructure such as a hospital, courthouse, cemetery, and motor vehicle examination depot – has been a significant issue for Portmore residents since the Government announced plans to make Portmore Jamaica’s 15th parish.

Director of planning and environment at the Portmore Municipal Corporation, Onigraay Parker, unveiled the Local Sustainable Development Plan (LSDP) during the event, saying: “Portmore has evolved from being a dormitory community to a vibrant, electrifying, and bustling municipality that brings prospects and opportunities that make Portmore the place of choice.”

The LSDP, built on the tenets of Vision 2030, is an integrative and comprehensive plan outlining developmental strategies, programmes, and policies to guide Portmore’s growth. Parker highlighted that the plan includes six sector plans addressing food security, climate change and disaster risk reduction, sports, tourism, transportation, and housing.

He emphasised, “Our precarious location – Portmore – is located close to the coast, so careful planning and engineering will have to take into consideration mitigative and adaptation measures.”

Parker assured that the plan “will not sit on a shelf, but, with the leadership of Mayor Thomas, will be put to fruition”.

McKenzie endorsed the LSDP, describing it as “a fantastic plan that looks toward the future which is what sustainability is”. He reiterated the Government’s commitment since 2016 to build new facilities where not only councillors but also where members of staff may work in comfort.

ruddy.mathison@gleanerjm.com