Editorial

Castries Market Deserves A Facelift

Image of The Castries Market

THE recent announcement by the Prime Minister that government intends to make the famed (even by National Geographic Explorer) more hospitable is a great sales pitch, even to vendors. However, that momentum needs to be kept if any serious effort at arresting the deplorable conditions that exist there can result.

Named third-best food market in the world by National Geographic about a year or two ago, Castries Market is a microcosm of Saint Lucian life: people coming into contact with each other for friendly bargaining with sales pitch that are often more soulful than business like.

The market, which opened in 1894, is home to many businesses that provide incomes to households and contributes much-needed produce to kitchens with a taste for locally-produced fruits, vegetables and other items. However, the facility’s infrastructure has, to some extent, long outlived its era.

For starters, with limited space available for vendors to ply their trade, navigating through the maze of stalls and trays can become cumbersome for even those who make the journey there regularly. As such, the Castries Constituency Council (CCC) might want to consider setting up various units that are more conducive for vendors and buyers alike. Moreover, the practice of vendors selling their produce on the very roadside where rats and other vermin traverse should be abolished for many health reasons.

Over the years, it has also become the norm that vagrants have taken up residence on vendors’ trays at nights. In certain areas, urinating and defecating continue to be a major problem despite comfort stations placed conveniently nearby. If customers are to spend their hard-earned dollars for items, they should at least be given the assurance that they are doing so in a safe and healthy environment.

Many vendors are understandably concerned that some of the proposed changes for Castries Market might redound to them shelling out an extra few dollars in rentals to the CCC. If that truly is the case, then the increase should not be exorbitant to deter them from offering a service they do with cheerful, pleasant smiles and often reduced prices.

There is no denying that Castries Market needs a facelift. In that vein, liaising closely with the vendors whose very business depends on the facility for their survival must be essential. In fact, the Prime Minister’s visit there last Saturday was indeed a welcome sign that government recognizes that fact. Castries Market needs to sell itself without even trying.

Stan Bishop is the current Editor at The Voice Publishing co. Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio…

3 Comments

  1. Here’s my opinion on that beloved Market.All that Metal Structure should be
    removed so as to fit in with the times we’re in. A new design should Show more
    Glass(wired).Provide facility for the Physically Disabled at entrances and Exits also
    for Wash Rooms. A more enhanced Design factor, show a Flat Roof slightly slopped
    to the north for drainage.
    On a second floor concept, a food Court,(private restaurants too?) Security Station.
    The Sale of Local Handicraft, Gift Shops, etc. etc. Sky-Lights to save on Electricity.
    Design for the prevention of and provide for the fighting of FIRE.(a Sprinkler system?)

  2. Although an architect myself I will not even comment on architectural design approaches to this historic market. I agree some redesign is needed, however, my preferred strategy would be to develop a proper Masterplan first for Central Castries. The main problem with the market is one of roof leaks. My apologies if my thoughts contradict government plans.
    My vision is a revisiting of the Castries central street grid vis-à-vis the old CDC buildings (a few may have to be demolished due to questionable structural soundness) The city centre needs to be redeveloped. Castries is faced with many physical and social problems (we know them, I will not enumerate here).
    The market can be a great vista at end of a new street if viewed frontally.

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