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PNP caretaker calls for urgent help for victims of May Pen Market fire

Monday, December 02, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — People's National Party (PNP) caretaker for Clarendon Central, Zuleika Jess is calling for urgent help for vendors in the May Pen Market who suffered massive losses in a fire which damaged the facility yesterday.

“One cannot help but feel a profound sense of sadness at the suffering that vendors will experience from the loss of a place to conduct business as well as the loss of their stock which provided an income as their sole means of livelihood,” said Jess in a release hours after the massive blaze.

“This incident is particularly painful so close to the Christmas season. I am calling on the Clarendon Municipal Corporation and the Ministry of Local Government to immediately identify a suitable alternative site for a temporary market space and to provide some form of compensation to allow the affected vendors to get back on their feet as soon as possible.

“The livelihood of many men, women and children is at stake and relief must be provided with utmost haste,” added Jess.

Member of Parliament for the area Mike Henry has already indicated that he is awaiting an assessment before deciding on a way forward.

Henry has also stated that he has initiated talks with municipal officials and representatives of the local government ministry on possible assistance for the vendors.

In the meantime Jess has charged that the fire, which started shortly after 1:00 pm yesterday, has brought to light the grave lack of resources in the nation's fire fighting apparatus.

According to Jess, even with professional response to the emergency, the sheer inadequacy of the resources made it impossible for the fire fighters to save the structures or the goods and vendors lost all their investments to the blaze.

“While I commend the brave fire fighters and other first responders, unfortunately, it must be pointed out that the work of the gallant fire fighters was severely hampered by the poor layout of the market as well as the absence of a fire hydrant within the market itself,” Jess said.

She has called on the fire department to conduct an urgent audit and assessment of all the critical sites in the parish and identify where fire hydrants are needed, particularly in major town centres.

“This tragedy further highlights the poor state of infrastructure in Central Clarendon as a result of many years of neglect, lack of planning and interest in the welfare of our people,” charged Jess.


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