Fire burns massive hole in kind vendor’s pocket
In addition to losing millions in brand name valuables in a massive fire on Sunday, veteran Portland vendor Pauline Sinclair-Smith is worried that she will not be able to do something else she loves: helping the less fortunate.
Sinclair-Smith is well known for her efforts in assisting needy students with tuition and also her regular contribution to the less fortunate, including street people in Port Antonio. But after the blaze at the Musgrave Market in Port Antonio, she said that this might be one time in her life that she will not be able to say yes to those that are in dire need.
"I realise and accept that there is going to be some tough days ahead. I feel it especially for those students who come to me daily for bus fare and lunch money. I will not be able to answer the call for help, and that really breaks my heart," she said.
Sinclair-Smith, who has been plying her trade at the market for more than 25 years, said that picking up the pieces is difficult, as she invested heavily in the business with her husband.
"It is not that I am giving up, but this is too much. Before Sunday, just about everyone at the market had great expectations for the future. But with this fire, many like myself are staring down the barrel of doom and gloom," said Sinclair-Smith. "I lost more than $10 million worth of goods and my storeroom was destroyed. I lost mats, clothes, curtain, lotion, perfume, name brand shoes and slippers, hand bags, and many more items. It is pure devastation and I need help to get back on my feet." Sinclair-Smith said that if she can get $3 million or $4 million, she can go back to market and make purchases.
"The items are very expensive and I sold name brand sneakers like Nike, Adidas, Puma, Fila, and Converse. Shoes like Dexter, Clarks, Skechers, and Polo are all gone. I also sold name brand perfume like Korus, Obsession, Eternity, Cool Water. So this is a big loss," she said.
Sinclair-Smith was spotted on Monday occupying an area of West Street with a few items that she took from her home, which represents about two per cent of her original stock.