(PRESS RELEASE) — The food vendors at the Castries Market have a new home thanks to the Government of Saint Lucia and the Government of Taiwan.
Vendors will no longer be exposed to the elements which had affected their produce or ability to sell.
The first phase takes Saint Lucia one step closer to achieving the transformation and repurposing of the Castries City Centre.
On Sunday, May 4, 2020, an official handing-over ceremony took place on the grounds of the newly refurbished covered vending area.
The completion of this phase boasts 100 locally-made vending stalls, full refurbishment of the comfort stations and climate-resistance reinforcement.
Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation, Honourable Guy Joseph, addressed the gathering and reflected on the historical and economical importance of the Castries Market and how its enhancement will be the driving force behind a rejuvenated Buy Local Campaign.
“An enhanced market will be more attractive in drawing more people in the area to shop. We will continue to see the development of these facilities. The convenience that is created here is created first for the main occupants of this facility on a daily basis,” he noted. “The level of comfort that is afforded is first and foremost for our vendors which will overflow to shoppers, creating ease and a pleasing ambience.”
The ceremony signified the handing over of the facility from the Department of Economic Development to the Castries City Council (CCC), the entity responsible for the management of the facility and daily operations.
Mayor of Castries Peterson D. Francis was elated about the opening of the first phase and reminded vendors that they are the custodians of this facility and it is their responsibility to remain committed to its upkeep.
Said Francis: “I urge all vendors to make the most of what we’ve built for you, apply your creativity, bring innovative ideas and unleash your entrepreneurial spirit – because when you do well for yourselves, you do well for your nation.”
Minister with responsibility for External Affairs and MP for Castries Central, Honourable Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, focused on the social and cultural significance of the Castries Market and how vending has shaped lives and supported households for generations.
“It’s so important that we have enhanced this place, it’s so important that we’ve made it what it should be, a place not just of work but a place where people live and people grow. It is a vocation, a way of life that people freely choose.”
Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet, in his address to the gathering, reinforced how this enhancement and completion of the first phase of the Market Redevelopment Project is the pillar on which the Castries 2030 vision will be built, keeping the authentic cultural and social pulse of the City while upgrading standards to compete globally.
“I want it to be that everyone who comes to Saint Lucia visits our market,” he said, adding that the vendors are among the first ambassadors for our country. “That’s why we decided to focus on these amazing persons who truly represent us and that we raise the standards for ourselves first.”
The remaining component of phase one will include modifications to the entrance of the market adjacent to the Castries harbour while phases two and three will be the construction of a container box park, state-of-the-art food court, high-end air-conditioned restaurants, a refurbished craft market, entertainment area, and meat and fish depots.