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Photos of inside Oral Mckend's shop after a leakage event at No. 56 shop inside Kingstown Central Market.
Photos of inside Oral Mckend’s shop after a leakage event at No. 56 shop inside Kingstown Central Market.
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A clothes vendor at Kingtown Central Market says he has stopped paying his rent over the failure of the Kingstown Town Board (KTB) to address a leak and mould in his shop.

Oral Mckend told iWitness News that he has suffered loss and damages due to the leak.

“I’m having water coming from upstairs, above my shop, that seeps through the blocks or whatever,” he told iWitness News inside No. 56 shop on the second floor of the three-storey market.

“It’s not coming from the window for sure,” he said of the water.

“Because I’ve checked it, I removed all of these slat walls, because these slat walls was damaged already. This is another set of slat walls.”

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Mckend told iWitness News that he changed his slat walls three times since the problem began about five years ago.

“First, I thought it was from the window and what I did is come out like 18 inches from the wall to alleviate the seeping or the wetting of the slat wall. But it is still consistently leaking.”

Mckend, who has been renting a shop in the market since it opened in 2000, said there is a leakage problem even when it does not rain heavily.  

“Sometimes just a little light shower, a little four-, five-minute shower,” he said.

“Apparently, like when the water accumulates, it seeps through the block and it comes from the floor above, which is above the police canteen,” he said referring to a sun deck.

“So what happens, it seeps through the shops, not my shop alone either, but there are other shops that experience the same problem.”

Mckend said that mould is also a problem in the shop.  

“Mould is dangerous to your health. So I’m asking Town Board to look into this,” he said, adding, “I’ve been complaining for over five years now.

“First, I thought it was just a simple little leakage and it’s something that I could have handled but after my slat wall started falling off and my clothes started getting mildew and the place was infested with mould…”

He pointed out that he has had to bring the slat walls 18 inches from the wall to protect the clothes he sells from mould and mildew.

Mckend told iWitness News that he has stopped paying the rent because KTB, which manages the market, has not addressed the situation.

“All they keep telling me, they promising me that they’re going to look at it; they’re coming around to it, but in the meantime, I’m suffering. I’m suffering from losses with my stuff. I can put nothing on the ground. I can’t do anything on the ground on that side of the shop.”

Water damage in Oral Mckend shop
Photos of water damage to the wall of Oral Mckend’s shop at No. 56 shop inside Kingstown Central Market.

Mckend said that after the pandemic he had to do a major cleaning of the shop because of leakage and mould. 

“They never give me compensation; nothing,” he said, adding that the KTB worker who was responsible for collecting the rent took photos of the situation.

“Every time I get a leak, I send pictures but there is no response from Town Board,” Mckend said.

He told iWitness News that he is still awaiting a response to a letter he wrote to KTB about the situation. 

At the same time, the government is making further moves to clamp down on vending on the street.

He said that he, too, sells on the street despite having a market shop.

“This is one of the reasons why we have to be on the road; because there’s no foot traffic here and then people have to go out on the road to work to pay the rent,” Mckend told iWitness News. 

He said the rent is “manageable. But while I’m out there, I still have to pay rent, too. I have to pay a fee out there. Right. So that is my problem.”