Buxtonians feel concerns being addressed by Jagdeo/Hoyte talks
Set to open market tomorrow
By Miranda La Rose
May 18, 2001
Residents of Buxton are "cautiously optimistic" about the talks and the decisions taken by President Bharrat Jagdeo and PNC REFORM Leader Desmond Hoyte and say they "were welcome but long overdue".
Speaking with Stabroek News at the site where residents of Buxton are building their own market, councillor of the Buxton/Foulis Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Brenda Huntley, said that generally residents felt that their concerns would be addressed.
She said that they had taken the initiative, with the approval of the NDC, to build some 100 stalls on the Company Road Sideline Dam after some 50 stallholders from Buxton pulled out of the Annandale Market in the neighbouring village.
The objective of the residents is to open their market tomorrow, which in the past had been Buxton `market day'.
The covered Buxton Market went into decline about seven years ago. In addition farmers could not access the backlands by ballyhoos (boats) to bring out produce. After the roof began to leak and conditions began to deteriorate many persons shifted their stalls to the neighbouring Annandale Market.
The Buxton Market was then repaired by the Buildings Department of the Ministry of Education to temporarily accommodate the pupils of the Buxton/Friendship Primary School, while their school is being rebuilt. It was expected that the work on the school, which began last July, would have been completed this July for the new academic year. However, a visit to the site of the new school revealed that work had been halted on the building.
The residents would like the new school to be completed and the market rehabilitated so it could revert to its original function.
Also sharing his views on the market, community member and stallholder, Handel Neptune said that because of threats residents received from the neighbouring village and after the streets were blocked by residents of Annandale following the post-elections unrest, Buxtonians felt that it would be wiser for them to have their own market and get on with the development of their community.
One stall holder, who preferred to be called only by her first name, Yvette, said that she had never moved from the vicinity and she was glad that the other vendors would be returning to the community.
The new stalls in Buxton, follow the construction of several stalls on the government reserve along the Bachelor's Adventure Railway Embankment Road by residents of Bare Root and Bachelor's Adventure in the wake of heightened tensions between the residents of Enterprise and Bare Root. Those stalls are already in operation.
Speaking about the priorities of the village that should be tackled immediately under the Hoyte/Jagdeo agreement, Huntley said that one of them should be the rehabilitation of the drainage and irrigation system, which will give persons access to the backlands to farm. This, she said, would provide employment for many persons who are now without jobs and give them the chance to earn a decent livelihood.
She highlighted the need for a skills training centre in the village for young people as there are many school dropouts, who could undergo remedial training and learn a trade or skill to make them productive citizens.
Neptune said he was happy with the decision by Jagdeo and Hoyte to give Buxton priority attention. He said that what would be encouraging would be the opening of a branch of one of the commercial banks in the village or one of the neighbouring villages. He felt this would boost production and government should endorse this and encourage it.
Neptune, Huntley and a group of citizens who were part of the discussions in the vicinity of the market said that another priority should be the upgrading of the Buxton Health Centre to a cottage hospital providing a 24-hour service, as the area was heavily populated and residents from all along the east coast went to the clinic for service. Transportation to the city, they said, was not always available in the community at all hours and many women gave birth to their children at home.
Buxton was the scene of numerous clashes between citizens and police following the unrest that erupted after the March 19 elections. Many travellers and vehicles were also waylaid in the vicinity of Buxton through the use of burning barriers. Several persons were beaten and a number of vehicles burnt.