Ravaged Portland vendors to get help
PORT ANTONIO, PORTLAND
The Portland Municipal Corporation is to carry out an assessment of damages caused by a fire which on Sunday gutted the Musgrave Market in Port Antonio, as it seeks to restore the livelihood of registered vendors.
Mayor of Port Antonio Paul Thompson, who chaired a special emergency meeting on Monday involving various emergency responders and stakeholders, including the fire department, the police, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and business operators, says the focus will be on the affected vendors.
He says the municipal corporation is committed to ensuring that the necessary clean-up of the market space is carried out with urgency.
“Presently, we are doing an assessment so that we can decide the nature of help that can be given to them. Our main focus right now is to get the market clean,” commented Thompson.He says that in the interim, he intends to create an area for vending to continue temporarily.
“So as soon as we get the market clean, my plan is to have the vendors in the market, in a temporary area; so we would have to get some temporary stalls for them. This will allow them to get their livelihood up and ready again. We have decided that vendors selling ground provisions can resume their livelihood at the back of the market at the marshalling area.”
TEMPORARY MEAT MARKET
“For the haberdashery and clothing, we are considering the Neville Antonio Park as an option, so that they can also sell some of their goods there. The main challenge that we have now is the meat market, and that has to be a special place. There is an area in the market that we are looking at to see if we can construct a temporary meat market,” he added.
The damage to the Musgrave Market caused by Sunday’s fire could run into hundreds of millions of dollars; however, Thompson says the political directorate in East and West Portland along with corporate entities have committed to assist with the building of a new market.
“Minister Daryl Vaz is one of the greatest fundraiser that I have ever seen. And I know that he is going to work assiduously to ensure that Port Antonio gets a state- of-the-art market; and I know that this will be done in record time. MP (Member of Parliament) Vaz and his wife Ann-Marie, who is the MP for East Portland, will return to the island on Wednesday. They will tour the market on Thursday and then do a press conference to announce the level of assistance that will be provided,” Thompson concluded.
Approximately 150 vendors have been displaced as a result of the fire. Kamal’s Supermarket and Cambio, along with Portland Jewellers furniture and appliance store on West Street in Port Antonio were also gutted.East Portland MP Ann-Marie Vaz has committed to donating her salary increase to assist the vendors who suffered heavy losses resulting from the blaze.