Kitty MarketThe Communities Ministry has stated, in relation to concerns raised at a City Council statutory meeting last Monday, that there is no intention of stalling works at the Kitty Market.This statement came after the issue was raised by Councillor Oscar Clarke, who claimed that he was informed by the contractor that engineers from the Communities Ministry were interfering with progress on the market’s renovation.“I visited Kitty Market and I met the contractor on the job, and the contractorThe Kitty Marketinformed me that his work on the project is being stymied by the engineers from the Ministry of Communities,” Clarke relayed to the City Council meeting.Councillor Clarke went on to explain, “They told him (contractor) that he had to complete outside before he could start inside. But if a contractor has a job, I don’t know how the contractor can be told not to do work inside when we can do both outside and inside; and if he does that, then he can have the project completed ahead of time.”However, Contractor Bernard Lord has stated that the construction was never stalled, and halting works was never on the agenda of the meeting with the ministry’s engineers.During a telephone interview with Guyana Times, Lord was asked about the request to finish the external work before moving inside, “No, they just wanted to prioritize the outside, to make sure they finish the outside before they finish inside,” the contractor stated.He elaborated on the reason behind the engineers’ visit, stating, “They just wanted to do an assessment of the outside and the areas that are functional and ready for use now.”After the issue became publicised, the Communities Ministry also issued a statement, which concurs with the contractor’s story. While highlighting that the first phase of construction is almost completed, the ministry’s public relations department has noted that there is no plan to stop the market’s completion.The ministry clarified that an engineer attached to their entity met with the team from City Hall to garner their input and discuss the outline of the building; and, as such, a decision had been taken that after the completion of the first two phases (external stalls and upstairs), any excess funds would be used to start internal works on the ground floor.“An evaluation will have to be done to determine the cost of the offices upstairs, and the remaining funds will be used to finish off the ground floor,” Head of the Ministry’s Projects Department, Naeem Khan, explained.“The ministry is basically there to monitor, and does not dictate on the project. The designs, specifications and configurations are all decided by the council,” he added.Slow businessMeanwhile, vendors who are still operating within the vicinity of the market are anticipating the reopening of the market. Declaring that they do not have an issue with paying dues, which amount to about $12,000 per month, the vendors have expressed concerns about the slowing down of business.“Well, it used to be slow, but when holidays coming, like Christmas and so, it does go and come. We are at the side here, so sometimes people don’t notice us,” one vendor told the Guyana Times.While testifying that business has dropped significantly, another vendor stated, “They told us maybe in June or July, so let’s hope and pray they stick to their word this time; cause they told us three months we’ll be back there, but we been here for two years and a half.”The first phase of the construction works on the market is almost complete, with 90 percent of the stalls and 80 percent of the sanitary blocs completed. The construction project is expected to cost some $25 million. This sum includes the construction of 15 external stalls, the sanitary bloc and the administrative office, inclusive of a revenue collection section.Additionally, the building’s design was made to include the Public Health Department, Clerk of Market, Revenue Collectors, and a concert/conference hall which is expected to serve as rental facilities for community events.There are also plans to better the facility’s power system by utilizing solar energy and installing a back-up power system in the event of blackouts.