JAM | Jun 9, 2023

Musgrave Market fire victims begin receiving grants

/ Our Today

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Vendors collecting their compassionate grant cheques from the Musgrave Market in Port Antonio on Thursday, June 8, 2023. (Photo: Contributed)

In keeping a promise to assist with recovery efforts, the Action Ann Foundation handed out grant financing on Thursday (June 8) to more than half of the 200 vendors affected by the recent Musgrave Market blaze in Port Antonio.

The grants, valued J$100,000 each, forms the first phase of a J$20 million pledge dedicated out of funds raised thus far.

The foundation, in a statement today, indicated that it worked closely with the Portland Municipal Corporation to obtain the list of registered vendors. Vendors collected their cheques after verifying their
identity, in what was described as an “efficient and swift” process which “represents a measure taken by the Action Ann Foundation to directly assist those affected by the unfortunate fire”.

“The rebuilding effort for the Musgrave Market is a crucial step towards restoring hope and vitality in our community. I am committed to working closely with all stakeholders involved, especially the affected vendors, to ensure that this project not only rebuilds the physical structure but also revitalises their livelihoods”, commented Ann-Marie Vaz, Member of Parliament for Portland Eastern.

Member of Parliament for Portland Eastern, Ann-Marie Vaz, embraces an elderly vendor who was among the victims affected by a fire that ravaged the Musgrave Market in Port Antonio on Thursday, June 8, 2023. (Photo: Twitter @annmarievazja)

The foundation’s commitment extends beyond temporary relief and includes a comprehensive three-step approach towards the market’s restoration.

Phase one, according to the foundation, focuses on providing compassionate grants to vendors and offering immediate financial support to help them overcome the initial challenges they face. These grants aim to alleviate the vendors’ immediate burdens and provides some semblance of financial security during this difficult period.

Moving forward, phase two will involve assisting vendors in restocking their stalls, allowing them to resume their businesses and putting them in the best position to regain access to the market which is key to their livelihood.

In phase three, the foundation will collaborate with the government in a partnership effort to
reconstruct the market. By working hand-in-hand with relevant stakeholders, the Action Ann Foundation aims to create a safe, modern, and resilient marketplace that will benefit the vendors, the community and the parish of Portland as a whole.

The Action Ann Foundation has made remarkable progress in its fundraising efforts. To date, the foundation has successfully raised $40 million towards its goal of $100 million to rebuild the Musgrave Market and restore the livelihood of the vendors. This rally of financing reflects the tremendous support and generosity of individuals and local organisations who are passionate about reinstating the heartbeat of Port Antonio.

(Photo: Twitter @annmarievazja)

To ensure transparency and accountability, the Musgrave Market Relief Fund will undergo a thorough audit following the rebuilding efforts. A dedicated committee, comprising members of the fund, the Portland Municipal Corporation, and independent auditors, has been established to oversee the proper management and utilisation of the funds.

This committee will ensure that every dollar is allocated appropriately and that the rebuilding process
adheres to the highest standards of integrity.

The Action Ann Foundation says it remains committed to the vendors of Musgrave Market and the revitalisation of the heart of Port Antonio. Through its compassionate grants, restocking support, and partnership with the government, the Foundation seeks to uplift and empower the affected vendors, while contributing to the rejuvenation of the local economy.


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