Overdue remedial works planned for rundown Stabroek wharf, Kitty market

Remedial works are expected to be carried out on the dilapidated Stabroek Market wharf and derelict Kitty Market, according to a source close to City Hall.

Last year, the Guyana Fire Service had listed the Kitty Market among the derelict buildings within the city that were fire hazards.

The source revealed that close to $80 million is to be injected into the rundown Kitty market while a significant sum will be spent on repairing the ramshackle wharf.

“Estimates were prepared for the Stabroek Market wharf and the Kitty Market and works are to be undertaken,” the source said.

“Documents were sent to the council’s Finance Department some time ago to make finances available and procure necessary material required to effect repairs to that section of the market,” the source added.

The office of the Clerk of Markets and other staff who manage the functioning of the market are located at the wharf. Boats are also moored at the wharf. “What has been happing at the wharf is a disaster waiting to happen, the staff at the market keep complaining but to no avail,” another City Hall source said.

Part of the exterior of the Stabroek Market Wharf
Part of the exterior of the Stabroek Market Wharf
A rotten post waiting to fall at the Stabroek Market Wharf.
A rotten post waiting to fall at the Stabroek Market Wharf.

During a recent visit to the wharf, gaping holes in the roof, missing planks and falling posts were observed; there was also a very acrid smell in the air.

A commuter who uses it daily told this newspaper that the wharf “could collapse at any time” and warned that it is going to result in disaster. “Something needs to be done urgently about this wharf,” he said.

Voicing some of their concerns, several vendors, who spoke to this newspaper on the condition of anonymity, said they want the situation to be remedied quickly.

“Imagine is years I deh here and this place just getting from bad to worse. The roof falling apart, the floor falling apart. We just fed up. We always hearing that this place gon’ fix up but we ain’ seeing nothing. Them at City Hall need to stop all the stupid fighting and fix up this place,” the vendor said.

Another vendor said that for many of them there is nowhere else to go and they just have to “stick it out.”

“Wah we gon do? We complain and complain but nothing is being done about it. So, all we could do is just go with the flow. A set of things we does got to go through down here and nuff days we don’t even get any sales but we have to stick it out,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ranwell Jordan, Head of the Market Committee, told Stabroek News in a recent interview that “from the last reporting on the wharf in the newspapers [last year] and the danger it poses to commuters and vendors in that area nothing has been done to cause improvement.”

Sections of the wall missing at the Stabroek Market Wharf
Sections of the wall missing at the Stabroek Market Wharf
Some of the rotten planks that commuters and vendors have to walk on at the Stabroek Market.
Some of the rotten planks that commuters and vendors have to walk on at the Stabroek Market.

He added, “I am aware that the Clerk of the Market put forward reports to the Market and Public Health Committee and the committee recommended that immediate works should be undertaken. That wharf poses threat to staff occupying the offices and also to the boats mooring on the wharf,” he said. “The planks shift and that can create a hazardous situation,” he added.

In an invited comment, Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green described the conditions of the wharf as “appalling.” Green added that years ago the council had started charging speed boat operators in an effort to raise monies to fix the wharf. “Government took it away. That is part of the cruel treatment being meted out to the City Council,” Green said.

Meanwhile, during a recent visit several persons who reside near the Kitty Market expressed dissatisfaction with its current state. Last year, members of the Market Action Group had said that the market was in dire need of repair.

The market houses more than 140 stalls but has an occupancy rate of less than half that number. Inside the market there are fruit, vegetable and meat stalls while outside vendors can be seen selling greens and other grocery items.

The rundown Kitty Market has been listed as a fire hazard by the Guyana Fire Service.
The rundown Kitty Market has been listed as a fire hazard by the Guyana Fire Service.

One resident, who asked not to be named, called the structure a threat to lives. “Years now I have been living here and it is sad to see that this building is in this condition. This market is in a really bad state and I admire those vendors who come out every day to sell in there and risk their lives because that whole building look like it gon collapse at any minute,” the woman said.

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