Categorized | National News

Bannister: Straw Market Closure Criticisms ‘Political’

Minister of Works Desmond Bannister said the criticisms leveled against him after the closure of the Downtown Straw Market for maintenance purposes, are solely political.

Before entering the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Bannister said the Straw Market is in desperate need of repairs due to safety challenges and it is in no way done to force vendors out of the market.

“I think you saw one vendor saying some nonsense.  We have to stop this politically motivated nonsense that we see,” Bannister said.

“I sat down with that particular vendor the day before she made her statements.  She brought Mr. Obie Ferguson, who is president of the TUC (Trade Union Congress). She brought her own engineering expert in.  And when we left the meeting, the TUC president had to agree with me. Her expert went on the record saying, based on what I said, he agreed with me that the market needed to be closed immediately.” 

He continued, “This political nonsense they sent out there, viral on the internet, is really ridiculous, really disgusting.”

Bannister described the present condition of the Straw Market and explained why the repairs were necessary.

“That system was corroding on a daily basis and was not operable. So the longer we left it, the more it was going to corrode,” he said.

“Engineers advised that as a safety measure, we had to deal with that urgently. So the vendors have now moved out, the market is now being properly serviced. When the pipes go in now, they are going to be coated, so that the corrosion won’t be an issue and a problem.” 

Bannister continued, “Also in the market, there are some other issues that will have to be dealt with. There is a terrible termite infestation in that Straw Market.

“You will see that the people are working there now removing the wood because a lot of the wood that was brought in is termite infested.” 

Bannister said vendors have been given an opportunity to continue their work, relocating to Paradise Island and the Prince George Wharf.

Bannister said the repairs at the Straw Market are a five-day operation and will it reopen on Saturday at 7 a.m. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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