NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Works Minister Desmond Bannister yesterday revealed a rebranding is in the cards for the downtown Straw Market.
The Works minister also underscored the need for the Straw Market Authority to be fully funded to undertake the various projects related to the popular tourist attraction and marketplace.
“The Straw Market Authority doesn’t have the money so ministry has to fund it,” Bannister told reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
“We have to look at the future at ensuring that the Authority has the funding it needs to do what it needs to do for the market rather than constantly coming to the Ministry and having us to fund what they are doing.”
He also noted that the market will be rebranded later this year.
Bannister said: “There have been lots of challenges in the straw market. In 2015 the sprinkler system was put in. It was not put in properly.
“It was inadequate and not coated. It had to be fixed properly. We have brought in an entirely new system that has been coated to protect it from the environment and everyone in the straw market can be safe.”
He continued: “The lighting system had challenges and the lighting contractors are now dealing with it to put in the appropriate lights so we can have really good lighting in the market.
“Many of the vendors had put extensions on their stalls. Some of those went way up to the sprinkler system and caused challenges. We have taken those extensions off and put new ones that do not cause damage and have to monitor them to ensure that no more extensions go onto stalls to cause a dangerous station.
Bannister said: “Many of the drains blocked up and caused problems. Vendors asked us not to open up last week Saturday. We have kept it closed and extra week. Most vendors out on the wharf are doing fine. The reality is they have to go back on Saturday.
“An added challenge to be addressed later in the year is the fact that many vendors brought wood into the market that was termite infested.”
He added: “When the season is slow we will probably have to close for another week and tent it to be treated for termites.”
Bannister was unable to put a price tag to the work currently being carried out at the straw market.