Opposition urges Local Gov’t Minister to reconsider any proposed increase in market fees

The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) is urging Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie to reconsider any proposed increase in market fees.

The issue of market fees was brought up in the Local Government Election debate on Saturday night, when the two political parties were asked if they would consider increasing market fees to raise funds for the upkeep of markets.

The PNP said it is not considering an increase, however, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said the existing rates must be looked at.

Meantime in a statement yesterday, Opposition Spokesperson on Local Government, Natalie Neita Garvey expressed concerns about the government’s stance, saying the PNP cannot endorse any increase in market fees, without substantial improvements in market conditions.

Mrs. Neita Garvey described the government as unconscionable, saying it’s intent on imposing unwarranted financial burdens on vendors and consumers, before addressing crucial market improvements.

She dismissed the Minister’s claim of PNP councillors’ support for fee hikes as baseless, asserting that it contradicts public statements and party policy.

Pointing to the significance of the matter, the local government spokeswoman demanded that the Minister makes a definitive statement on market fees, and not leave the public to make deductions from his debate intervention.

She stated that imposing higher fees in the current economic hardships would be tantamount to extortion, burdening all Jamaicans and resulting in increased food prices for consumers.


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