Demolition begins on old Marabella market
Sunday, September 8 2013
AFTER many attempts over the years, demolition finally began yesterday on the old Marabella market located behind JTA Supermarket, Southern Main Road, Marabella.
Scores of crudely-built wooden shacks along lower Market Street, Marabella, were the first to go tumbling down, under the watchful eyes of San Fernando Mayor, Dr Navi Muradali and Acting Chief Executive Officer of the San Fernando City Corporation, Willa Guy-Straker.
But even as the old wooden stalls fell, scores of vendors protested the demolition, noting that persons occupying the make-shift structures had not yet been allocated space opposite in the new $8 million market.
Other vendors say they have been forced to cut back on the amount of goods they sell because the new stalls are smaller. Kaloutie Ramcharan, a fruit vender and a single mother of two daughters who are both second-year engineering students at the University of the West Indies, said she has been selling in the market for many years, but that her regular earnings are now affected with the allocation of stalls .
“This is how I earn my living and I have to educate the girls who depend on me to provide for them,” Ramcharan said.
“I also sell watermelon, pineapples and pumpkin and I don’t have room for it now. They promised me two stalls, but I only get a small one,” she said.
Vendor Vidya Laloo, told Sunday Newsday she was forced to resign last year as secretary of the Market Vendors; Association when she decided to occupy a spot in the new market, said yesterday:
“They vex with me when I come here, but I am very happy in the market.”
Echoing similar sentiments were Boyie Samaroo who described the new Marabella market as the “best.”
Market administrator Ramachand Harripaul admitted to problems in accommodating 500 vendors into the market which he said was built to cater to 300. He promised that his team would continue to work tirelessly to ensure that all the vendors would be given enough space inside, and also outside of the market, to sell their goods.
Tents, he said, will be erected to meet the needs of some of the vendors.
Muradali said he was satisfied with the smooth transition from the old market to the new one.
“The market clerk is investigating all concerns and those issues will definitely be addressed within the next few days,” Muradali added.
One area of the old market will be converted into a carpark while the other area known as the “Fergusson shed” will be used exclusively by clothes vendors.