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Mall Operators: 'We are on the breadline'
Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Michael Hamit

Michael Hamit - Store owner from the People's Mall

"They are not finish with the investigation as yet. They said that they found one battery where the fire started inside of the Mall. Most likely they are going to carry it by the Forensic Science Center to analyze it to see if that was what caused the fire.

Other than that, we are negotiating for the people to get compensation for the losses. There is a committee working on that right now. Some of them gone by the Gladiator this morning, but I do not know what will transpire.

Right now I am just holding on, because I lost everything. I am just waiting to see the kind of compensation I will get so that I can start back. Everybody is waiting to see what the government is going to do with us. If they would relocate us somewhere that we could start or if the compensation that they are giving us, a man can start on his own, even if it is a small business at home.

We are on the breadline, and the Mayor said they don't want any vending on the streets right now, which means they have put us in another position again. If we could, we would have started to peddle our goods already because some people know that they have family to maintain. For me, I have family to maintain and it is hard for me right now. I am not seeing anything coming in yet.

They have the place blocked of and they do not even want you to go in to see what you could get. Right now I am waiting to see what will happen."

Sherwin Jones

Sherwin Jones - Usher from the People's Mall

"A group of us used to bring customers inside of the Mall to shop. That was our job, and right now all of us are out of a job. We are like peddlers, we bring people from of the streets, ask them to come in and show them around the mall. This was how we lived; it was a living we used to make. No salary now, nothing, all of us are on the breadline right now.

It supposed to have a meeting at four o'clock today at either Woodford Square or Town Hall. Everything is being organized with them, but we do not know about us. We didn't own a booth, but we used to work there, we used to live there. We do not have a problem with the Mall changing, but it might have maintenance work, security work. We should get first preference, you can't just bring in people; they have to fit us in somehow. They are not really telling us anything. We are the people who really had there pumping, it is a fact.

We have a meeting later to know exactly what is happening. We have to voice our opinion. They have to include us in anything that they are doing. They cannot leave us out just so on the road. We mind family, we live there, and everyday we eat there. Right now I am just borrowing money I don't have, and don't know how I will pay back if I do not have any income. It is a struggle and sometimes you have to go through the struggle. I do not have a problem with that. This evening I am going to ask the people and them what it is they are really doing for us.

They haven't told us anything as yet. Since this thing happen, we are out here everyday and none of them brought a paper by us. Paper signing all over our faces, all over our eyes and they are not telling us anything. In this meeting, I do not care; I am going to voice my opinion."

Visit the People's Mall Fire album at:

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