PORT ANTONIO, Portland— The 200 registered victims of Sunday’s fire at Musgrave Market will each receive $100,000 to recover from the blaze, thanks to a fund launched Thursday morning. Forty-three million has already been raised.
The overarching goal is to use sums raised through the fund to restore the widely-used market. Work will be spearheaded by Portland Eastern Member of Parliament Ann-Marie Vaz’s Action Ann Foundation.
“The Ministry of Local Government has earmarked $10 million that will be used for the immediate clean-up of the market. We have received, in two days, $30 million in contribution for the rebuilding process,” said Vaz during a ceremony at the offices of the Portland Municipal Corporation after a tour of the burnt-out market.
“Each of the 200 vendors will be given a cheque for $100,000 next week to help rebuild their lives. Out of adversity comes opportunity. I am going to ensure that this is the opportunity that all the vendors wanted and needed. The $30 million donation is from various private sector companies and individuals” she added.
She expressed gratitude that no lives were lost in the blaze and promised that the market would be quickly back in use.
“I want to thank God that we lost things that can be replaced, a building that will be rebuilt in the exact spot — bigger, better and more efficient and user-friendly not only for the vendors but our consumers. This is the fastest rebuild that we will ever see and when we have done this it will be the start of a new dispensation. We will have consultation with all the stakeholders before anything is done,” said Vaz.
MP for Portland Western, Daryl Vaz spoke of the long-term plan that will kick in after vendors’ immediate needs are met.
“We think that it is important that we get something to them immediately; but that is the short term. The longer term, now that the fund is launched and we expect to get a very good response, is to do the assessment with the municipal corporation and in the second phase do restocking to get them back on their feet with whatever items they have lost,” said the Portland Western MP.
“They may not be able to get back everything but we want to make sure that they get substantially to get back on their feet. Depending on what the insurance settlement is and the third leg the best technical assistance,” he added.
Daryl Vaz also stressed that there will be full transparency in how the Action Ann Foundation uses the funds raised.
According to CEO of the Portland Municipal Corporation, Megan Bramwell vending will continue in the areas earmarked for commerce in the wake of the fire: the Neville Antonio Park will accommodate the sale of haberdashery and clothing items, craft vendors will ply their wares at the craft market; butchers and meat vendors will be accommodated at the front of the market and ground provisions at the back.
A 10:00 am meeting of vendors has been planned for Friday morning.
LIST OF DONORS NAMED BY DARYL VAZ:
Ann-Marie Vaz - $10 million
Digicel - $5 million
Sandals Resorts International - $5 million
Michael Lee Chin Trident Hotel - $5 million
NCB - $2.5 million
Stewarts Auto Sales - $2.5 million
Palmer family - $2 million
Bijoux Jewellers - $ 1 million
Dwight’s Construction - $1 million
Matcon Construction - $1 million
Sonia Lee-Chin - $750,000
Alligator Head Foundation - $500,000
LifeSpan Co Ltd - $500,000