SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Vendors in the Savanna-la-Mar market are to receive help from an unexpected source — the police, who have vowed to work with the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce to fix the facility’s leaky roof.
Commanding officer for Westmoreland, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Wayne Josephs made the announcement at Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC).
“I have decided to fix the market. So I have contacted the municipality to get permission,” he said to cheers from the elected officials.
The project will be a joint initiative between the police, the Chamber of Commerce, and the WMC as part of ongoing collaboration to restore public order in the parish.
The Public Order Reset, launched on October 18, also includes efforts to address Savanna-la-Mar’s challenges with traffic congestion — said to be caused by a combination of taxi operators flouting the laws, and illegal vending. However, there was pushback from protesting cabbies and street sellers, with the latter voicing concerns that the market located on Great George Street is unsanitary, unsafe and unkempt.
On Thursday, SSP Josephs said, during a visit to the market about three weeks ago, he had seen nothing to substantiate vendors’ claims that the facility was unsanitary. However, he said their concerns about a leaky roof were valid.
“The complaint about the leaking roof was a reality. …We looked up at the sky when we were in there,” the senior lawman said, adding that his team will work on the more badly damaged of two buildings in the market.
He commended the WMC for work it has begun there and spoke of the challenges posed by the current conditions.
“If a fire breaks out at the market right now, the fire brigade cannot go down there. If there is a robbery the police cannot properly pursue anybody, with the chaos at the market right now,” he pointed out.
As part of efforts to address these issues, SSP Josephs said vendors will be provided with colour-coded vests based on assigned vending areas, and the facility will be policed.
He stressed the need to move ahead with the push to restore public order in the parish and said it has received support from various stakeholders.
“A lot of persons in Westmoreland wanted to see this change, and now that they’re seeing this change and the resolve, a lot of persons are coming on board: the Chamber of Commerce, the PSOJ, the health authority [have] contacted me,” he explained.
WMC Chairman Mayor Bertel Moore lauded Josephs for the roof-repair initiative and his overall willingness to work with the authority.
“I have seen some changes [since you are in office]. Continue the hard work. I can personally see that you have been doing an excellent job,” Moore said.
Josephs said repairs to the market’s roof should commence soon.