Farmers lament stolen material for new market

Thirty-five rolls of roofing material has been stolen from the new open-air Farmers Market being constructed on Thomas Russell Way. 

The Royal Cayman Islands Police are investigating the reported theft of $3,000 worth of wind and water seal missing from the roof of the Farmers Market job site Friday morning. 

“I’m sad and disappointed that as a community we have such criminal-minded people here that came and stole this stuff,” said Hamlin Stephenson, the farmer spearheading the initiative. 

Mr. Stephenson was at the Farmers Market Friday with fellow farmer Kirkland Nixon discussing the crime and their future options. 

The self-adhering roofing under-layments, designed to protect homes from wind and rain, were placed on the brand new wooden roof Thursday morning by forklift. When workers turned up at 7 a.m. Friday, they discovered it was gone and called police. 

“You really wouldn’t think that overnight they would do that,” Mr. Stephenson said. 

Mr. Nixon said, “A lot of people gave, gave, and gave – that’s why it’s so sad you know.” 

Work on the 6,000 square-foot building on Thomas Russell Way across the road from the Red Cross building began in December 2014, said Mr. Stephenson, who had hoped the site would be operational in the next two months. 

Despite this setback, Mr. Stephenson said there are sufficient funds to finish the roof but there is a lot of work to be completed. “We have all the stalls to put in, and we need to get the floor cleaned and sealed. We also have to complete all of the landscaping and paving,” he said. 

The new venue is estimated to cost vendors around $300,000 to construct. To date, they have spent about $140,000.  

When completed, the building will have 32 stalls and vendors will pay a small fee to offset cost of utilities and upkeep. 

“We are sure that someone must have seen something, so if you know anything, please contact the police,” Mr. Nixon said. 

People wishing to report any information regarding this theft 
should call their local police station 
or the Crime Stoppers tips hotline 
at 800-TIPS (8477). 

Ashani Francis-Collins contributed to this story. 

Hamlin Stephenson displays an example of the stolen wind and water seal. – Photo: Jewel Levy