BVI News

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Farmers want old police HQ transformed into market

This is all that’s left of the sign at the front of the old police headquarters at Sir Olva Georges Plaza in Road Town.

Farmers in the British Virgin Islands believe the old police headquarters at Sir Olva Georges Plaza in Road Town could be put to better use as a marketplace.

Member of the Farmers and Fishermen Network, Aragon Dick-Read told BVI News in an exclusive interview that the dilapidated building has several factors that make it a perfect venue for them.

The government-owned building had received its share of blows from hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.

“With the right energy and the right funding, the structure could be restored and converted into an arcade or a breezeway where permanent stalls could be put in and allow farmers and people creating local products to come and sell their goods,” Dick-Read said.

“The police station is a good location. It’s a perfect public space, it’s a cultural and historical space as well, and it’s very attractive to multi-demographic usage. Every Caribbean country and most small towns all over the world have a permanent marketplace. A market brings people together, it allows the economy to flourish, it’s a community central point,” he added.

Farmers dislike present market

According to Dick-Read, it is the general consensus among farmers that the present market located opposite Flow in Road Town is not suitable.

He said the location is not ideal because it doubles as a parking lot. He also reasoned that the location has no permanent stalls and other facilities needed in a market.

He said authorities did not place enough thought into the current market.

“The place is congested … and it doesn’t make you feel good to work in there. And farmers, in general, don’t like it,” he remarked.

No development plans for old police HQ

Meanwhile, our news centre invited comments from City Manager Janice Braithwaite-Edwards in relation to the likelihood of the old police headquarters becoming a marketplace.

She said she did not know, and noted that the building belongs to government; not the City.

“I can allow the farmers to operate in that area for right now because we do not have the development plan yet for the area. But a number of government agencies have been displaced from their location that they were paying rent in, so government may decide that we have five or six agencies that we can put in the building,” she said.

“The market would not be a priority for the government, at this time, as we look at the recovery of the Virgin Islands and the City as it relates to space. Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of other areas that would take precedence as it relates to space and for people to operate.”

She also said plans are afoot to repair the current marketplace on Fishlock Road.

Some of the plans include diverting parking to the festival grounds when it is not in use.

“How soon that is going to happen? I can’t say,” she told BVI News.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

22 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Great idea




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  2. Change says:

    I think that would be an unbelievable change to the waterfront, a new and great idea, unless there is good reason to believe otherwise.




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    • Albion says:

      It would look great, but I worry about parking. It is already crazy with Aeropost in that area. Throw in a farmer’s market as well, plus the court reopening after refurbishment, and it will become a real nightmare.




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      • No says:

        There are two parking lots across the street people just to lazy and always want to park right by the door. The police need to do their jobs and patrol the area during market times. Tickets to those who park where they not supposed to




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      • Concerned says:

        Parking is a nightmare all over. What is needed is a parking garage that is a requied place for business employees and limit the current mid-town places for customers. Make strict 1 hour or 2 hour parking and have an officer constantly patrol the lots. Mark tires with chalk for timing. Stop being in the third world and step up to the modern plate. We have too many cars and need to take action. Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement!!! Let Supa Cop train some others.




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  3. Way back when says:

    It was there before




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  4. Laura says:

    This will be a great needed innovation to the town and a perfect way for locals and tourist to re-discover, re-familiarize, and get re-acquainted with the culture of the BVI all in one place. I hope it comes to fruition as it is really needed and these eyesore buildings need to be put to greater use.




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  5. friend says:

    I agree, good idea




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  6. Anonymous says:

    The jetty/peer and the whole old post office area, and before the highway ushered in modernity, were the main trading posts of agricultural goods, livestock, import, export and other.

    Could it be that nature and not modernity is teaching a lesson, due to our materialistic nature and blind speed into the future, that we discard of the important building blocks of the past?




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  7. Make it happen says:

    This should not be a problem.We need that Farmers Market.




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  8. Sunshine says:

    I think a better place to relocate the farmer’s market is at the bandstand area across from the Elmo Stoutt High school.

    And if we think this through some more, the bandstand or music activities are better off at the square in front of the old police building.




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  9. RespHmmect says:

    That is an awesome idea!!
    Hope they allow it.




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  10. Sam the man says:

    Relocate it to the race course which is used twice a year only!




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  11. rastarite says:

    Excellent idea… and yes, there is plenty of parking next to the ferry terminal building – but make it 24 hour parking to stop cars parking for weeks.




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    • Tallfat says:

      That area too small for this time. There’s Abigail parking lot west of the ferry dock maybe that will be better. That area mostly open as people parking elsewhere. Btw don’t you guys have a market? Why not get that space which is much bigger done properly and use that.




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  12. West End Man says:

    Excellent idea, in fact the whole of Main Street needs to be revitalized, with boutiques and restaurants. The pier park lacks character.




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  13. Caribbean Girl says:

    City Manager says “we do not have the development plan yet for the area.” Still? They have been talks to revitalize Road Town since before the hurricanes.
    The present market doubling as parking is an advantage, since parking is a problem in town. It should not be a reason not to use. Aragorn also states that the farmers don’t like it either. Markets are congested, everywhere. They are busy, bustling. They are not shopping malls with A/C, couches, and Wi-Fi like Plaza Las Americas. What they need is to fix it adding the things that were overlooked.




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  14. Positive Energy says:

    I have to say i love how we hash ideas out on the internet. We should have weekly open drop by public square meetings all over. Nothing formal , just as an end of the week activity, have a projection up on a wall or under a tent displaying social media and online posts in real time and really hash out ideas and see and feel how people are viewing each others ideas bouncing around.




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  15. Diplomat says:

    Undoubtedly, a market place is part of the BVI culture, custom and heritage. Bobby’s, Road Town Wholesale/Rite Way, One Mart, Sun Beam, Ashley Nibbs……….etc changed the shopping pattern of residents. Further, the economic state of the territory vastly improved with an increasing GDP per capita, improving quality of life ad standard of living.. As soon as residents start living good, they start wanting to live extravagantly/large. Shopping at the “Market” became country and so 3rd World. Consequently, the importance of the Market in BVI residents life hit the skids; the Market moved around from pillar to post. But what is old is new.

    Now, there is a hunger and thirst again for a Market Place. The RVIPF HQ is an option for a Market; it is at the location of the original/olde Market Square. However, the pros and cons of siting the Market Place at this location needs to reviewed, ie, parking, best use of space/facility, congestion, square footage……etc. Moreover, other sites need to be looked at and the most probable option selected.

    Ok. The City Manager (CM) says: “She said she did not know, and noted that the building belongs to government; not the City.” Needs some clarifications. Is not the CM Department/position a government department? What does CM own? Are not CM and government one and the same? Did the CM intended to communicate something else?




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  16. Curious says:

    So where should the Police Headquarters be relocated to? Wherr are they now? Are they functioning effeciently from that location? Is there a plan for the headquarters to return to the Plaza? How could a market place be a priority over national security?




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  17. ChicaChica says:

    This CM does a poor job. Piles of debris still on every corner. Road Town is a mess. Parking is a mess. Signage is non existent. No trees. No public seating.




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