NASSAU, Bahamas -- A 27-year-old Nassau man was arrested and
charged with four counts of arson in connection with the Sept. 4
fire that destroyed the city's Straw Market and several nearby
businesses, the Royal Bahamas Police Force said.
Cordney Brian Gardiner, who lives in the Munsan Village section
of Nassau, was arraigned on Sept. 7. A second court date was set
for Nov. 28.
According to police, Gardiner deliberately set the fire that
destroyed the Straw Market; the Ministry of Tourism's headquarters;
Beaumont House, home to several offshore banks, shops and lawyers'
offices, and Colony Place, which housed shops and a restaurant.
Meanwhile, on Sept. 10, the Bahamas government began handing out
$600 checks to the 528 registered vendors of the Straw Market and
to 60 additional vendors located along Woodes Rogers Wharf.
The checks represent $300 per week in supplemental income while
a temporary building can be readied for the vendors at Prince
George Wharf, location of the cruise terminal.
Meanwhile, up to 560 of the displaced vendors will be relocated
to the parking lot of the former Bahamas Electricity Corp. adjacent
to the British Colonial Hilton until construction on the
alternative structure is completed.
The government also pledged to assist vendors with restocking
their stalls with goods. Plans call for the Straw Market to be
rebuilt on its original site.