The Government Tuesday (December 8) handed over cheques amounting to some $5.7 million to registered vendors who lost stalls and goods in the recent Oxford Mall fire, downtown Kingston.
Of the 68 vendors affected, 57 received cheques valued at $100,000 each, during a brief ceremony held at the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation’s (KSAC) Markets Department, at the Bus Terminus, Darling Street, downtown Kingston.
Special Technical Assistant to the Prime Minister, Carlene Sinclair, who handed over some of the cheques, said that the 11 remaining vendors are still being processed.
“It’s a matter of just ascertaining, correctly, Tax Registration Numbers (TRN) and so on,” she noted.
Special Technical Assistant to the Prime Minister, Carlene Sinclair, (left) hands a cheque valued at $100,000, to Juliet Mills, a registered vendor at the Oxford Mall in downtown Kingston, during a brief ceremony held at the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation’s (KSAC) Markets Department, at the Bus Terminus, downtown Kingston, to hand over cheques to registered vendors of the Mall who lost goods and stalls during the October 27 fire at that location.
She advised that 34 vendors have received airline tickets to access goods overseas, and that she wanted the vendors to make use of the token to help to replenish their stock for the Christmas season.
“It is not enough to replace what you have lost, it is not enough to replace the opportunity that you have lost, but we hope that you will just do what you can with it and, when the space is refurbished, that you will take the best care of it, because it is your working space that you have to use to make your living,” she told the vendors.
She disclosed that the Mall is now being refurbished at a cost of $2.4 million, noting that the plans have been approved, and that the work is expected to be completed by mid-January next year.
Data Research Manager at the KSAC’s Markets Department, Michael Webb, commended the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for how speedily it dealt with processing the cheques.
He expressed happiness that the vendors were registered, advising them to try and insure their goods, once they are of a certain value.
Responding on behalf of the vendors, Marva Ottey thanked the Government for assisting them as they “really needed it (the funds),” and that the money “is going to do a lot.”
She encouraged shoppers to patronise the Mall, as it is now back in operation, as the vendors have started restocking their goods.
Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding had pledged to provide cash assistance for vendors whose goods were destroyed in the October 27 fire, during a meeting with them at the offices of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) two days later. He pledged to provide cash assistance and to look at the possibility of getting waivers for those who might have goods coming into the island to help reduce the duty.