TPDCO to Assist Montego Bay Craft Vendors Affected by Fire


The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) will be funding the replacement of shops at the Old Fort and Harbour Street craft markets in Montego Bay, which were destroyed or damaged by fire, while a loan facility will be put in place to assist the affected craft vendors.
“I have instructed TPDCo to put in place the necessary funds so that we can commence work, so that we can get the markets back in place as quickly as possible, so that we don’t have any disruption of business,” said Minister of State for Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Dr. Wykeham McNeill.
The Tourism State Minister, who spoke to journalists following a tour of the Harbour Street facility this morning (April 16), explained that, “what we will be doing is advancing to .those persons that were totally wiped out the sum of $50,000 so that they can buy back their things and repurchase whatever they need and get back into business. For those that have water damage, we will give the sum of $30,000 and for those that have smoke damage, the sum of $20,000.”
He noted approximately $1.6 million was needed to repair the two markets, with $1.2 million for the Old Fort Craft Market and $400,000 for the Harbour Street Craft Market.
The Old Fort market was gutted by fire approximately three months ago, resulting in the destruction of six shops, while another six were damaged as a result of smoke and water. Fire also destroyed six shops at Harbour Street Craft Market on April 10, and another seven were damaged. In both instances, the fires were blamed on electrical short circuit.
Dr. McNeill noted that while there might be insurance issues to be settled by the St. James Parish Council, the Ministry was seeking to get the facilities up and running as soon as possible.
He said that as a preventative measure, special attention would be paid to the electrical faults in the markets, while all fire hydrants and fire extinguishers in and around the markets would be put in working condition.
The work to repair the fire damage at both craft markets is expected to begin in five weeks, while a comprehensive rehabilitation and upgrading of both facilities for which some $19 million was previously approved, should begin in another eight to 10 weeks following a tender and selection process.

JIS Social