After years of setbacks, phase one of the St George’s Market Square project has been completed and officially handed over to the Government of Grenada.
Restoration work on the Market Square was initiated by the previous New National Party (NNP) administration costing in excess of EC$2 million provided by the government of Venezuela but the Keith Mitchell-led government failed to complete the project.
The Venezuelan Government made a further $16.5m contribution for the project under the Tillman Thomas-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.
The St. George’s Market Square Project is part of an umbrella of projects financed by Venezuela from an aid package to Grenada.
The Tanteen Pavilion, and reconstruction of the Angel Harps pan house, as well as construction of a community centre and pavilion in both St. Patrick’s, and at Mont Tout, St. George’s, and repair of the road and bridge at Ford, St. Andrew’s are part of the project.
The market project caters for a covered and uncovered section. One building will house 28 open booths and 12 closed booths and they will provide a food court, space for dry goods vendors, craft and clothing vendors.
Another phase of the project will see the renovation of the old Town Hall Building.
Both governments agreed to execute the project, while Venezuela will be responsible for the technical supervision and management of the funds.
Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Works, Cecil Harris recalled that the project started in 2005, stopped in 2006-2007, restarted in 2007 and stopped again in 2008 under the NNP regime.
He said that through the initiative of former Tourism and Foreign Affairs minister, Peter David the project resumed until its completion.
According to Harris, he hoped that the phase of moving vendors into the market will be a smooth one with full cooperation from the users.
Contractor, David Sinclair of Sinclair Enterprises, told the handing over ceremony that the renovations undertaken at the facility were not simple.
He said the foundation of the facility had to be lifted two feet off the ground to avoid potential flooding, a regular occurrence within the Town of St George during rainfall.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas noted that he is aware of the history of the project, and the process that caused a level of discomfort for some vendors.
He urged those who will occupy the booths to use the facility wisely and to recognise its importance.
PM Thomas thanked Venezuela for its continued support to Grenada, which is its closely neighbour within the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Venezuelan Ambassador, Carlos Amador Perez Silva, expressed satisfaction that the 1st phase of the project is finally complete while Parliamentary Representative, Peter David who cut the ribbon to the facility reminded vendors that Venezuela has its own domestic problems but made the sacrifice to assist Grenada.
He stated that the St. George’s Market should not be seen as a St George project but a national one and urged users to take care of the facility.
He thanked the contractor for employing people from the Constituency and commended the employees for their hard work.
David said the financing of the project is a true example of the commitment and solidarity of Venezuela with the People and Government of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.