Foundation begins distribution of $100,000 grants to vendors

THE Action Ann Foundation has underscored its commitment to the Portland Eastern community by delivering on its promise to provide assistance to vendors affected by the recent fire at Musgrave Market.

On Thursday, just one week after the launch of the Musgrave Market Relief Fund, more than half of the affected vendors were given a compassionate grants of $100,000 each.

The Action Ann Foundation has dedicated $20 million from the funds raised so far to support the 200 vendors affected by the fire that destroyed the historic market on May 28.

The foundation worked closely with the Portland Municipal Corporation to obtain the list of registered vendors and they collected their cheques after verifying their identity with a valid identification card and tax registration number.

“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,” said Ann-Marie Vaz, Member of Parliament (MP) for Portland Eastern.

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

She said phase one 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 provide some semblance of financial security during this difficult period.

Vaz added that, 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 livelihoods.

“The Action Ann Foundation recognises the importance of enabling vendors to rebuild their inventory and re-establishing their presence in the market,” said Vaz.

The MP added that under phase three of the restoration project the Action Ann 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 Portland as a whole,” added Vaz.

She said the foundation has already made remarkable progress in its fund-raising 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 impressive achievement reflects the tremendous support and generosity of individuals and local organisations which are passionate about reinstating the heartbeat of Port Antonio.

“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 the rebuilding process adheres to the highest standards of integrity,” declared Vaz.

“The Action Ann Foundation 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,” Vaz added.