Three times unlucky - Family business suffers another setback in Ray Ray Market

August 08, 2018
Anneke Cowon (left), Denesha Greaves (left), Jacqueline Headley lament their unfortunate situation after fire gutted their business located in the Ray Ray Market in Kingston yesterday.
This firefighter carry out cooling-down operations at the Ray Ray Market in downtown Kingston, yesterday.
A vendor throws away clothes that were damaged by a fire at the Ray Ray Market in downtown Kingston yesterday.

Jacqueline Headley began rebuilding her business from scratch about eight months ago. Her shop was destroyed when fire razed sections of the  Ray Ray Market in downtown, Kingston last November.

Fast-forward a couple months and Headley is faced with a yet another hurdle of starting over after fire again gutted the market early yesterday morning.

“A the third time dis in less than two years that me a get burn out. When mi did deh a the other market, it burn down. Mi come yah so and it down, not one time, but two times. Why it always a burn out?” she asked as tears rolled down her cheeks.

The 40-year-old said that she has six children, three of whom are still in school.

She said that she has been in business for about 10 years and the retail business is her sole means of survival.

“A nuh all a wi ago be lawyer and doctor. Some a wi affi sell and me a sell so that me can send mi pickney dem a school. Mi a try hard because mi nuh wah none a dem end up a cemetery or dung a GP [General Penitentary]. How mi a go help them get a good education when every time wi fi sell, we get burn out?” she lamented.

Headley said that the shop is a family business, and its destruction has left more than 10 children without school supplies.


“Wi sell khaki, juice, clothes, all the little things dem fi get a money for back to school,” Anneke Cowon, another family member who worked in the shop, said.

Sasha Barrett said that she does not know what to do because they have invested so much in the business.

“Mi can't even estimate how much wi lose,enuh, because some a di things dem weh wi have never pay for yet,” she said, shaking her head.

Frustrated by the recent events, Headley said that the Government needs to step up and help them because they are suffering.

“We a tax payer and wi naah benefit. Foreign people come yah and get better treatment than we. A di third time dis wi a get bun dung and nobody nuh come to wi. Not KSAC, not the man weh collect the rent and we affi pay fi deh yah so. How that fair to we?” she asked.

With three children to send to school, Headley is determined to get back on her feet, but she said that she is tired of losing things when all she is trying to do is pave a way for herself and her family.

“If dem want wi off the land they can say that. They don’t need to burn dung the place and mek wi lose everything. Mi tiad a it now man. Mi ago set up back and start again because mi want mi pickney dem come out to supm. A nuff people reach somewhere inna life and dem come from a poor family. Mi wah mi pickney dem come out to supm,” she said.

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