'No ease up' 

'No ease up' 

Clampdown on illegal vending across the west for Yuletide season

Observer West reporter

Thursday, November 08, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The St James police are going to be working closely with the St James Municipal Corporation to tighten the screws on street vendors who operate outside of their designated areas in the resort city of Montego Bay and other areas of western Jamaica during the upcoming festive season.

Speaking recently at a press conference at the St James Municipal Corporation building, where representatives from the Fire Brigade, the St James Health Department and the St James police were present, Mayor Davis underscored that it will not be business as usual, especially for migrant vendors.

“Usually in the Christmas period, especially Christmas Eve, there is a little relaxation, but when I spoke to Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kevin Francis and his team, they made it clear that for the itinerant vendors who come to Montego Bay, it won't be business as usual. We have to operate our city under the rule of law,” said Mayor Davis.

“We are not saying that persons are not to make an honest living, but you cannot make that honest living by making life difficult for persons who are going about their lawful business. So, we have to understand that as a people. Courtesy begets courtesy, so we are prepared to deal with the eventualities as it relates to street vending.”

He disclosed, however, that plans are in the works to allow vending in designated areas in the city for the season.

“We will be looking at how we give temporary vending permits and the areas [in] which we will be allowing people to vend. One thing, I can assure you, is that we will be working very closely with the Jamaica Constabulary Force because, I know there is a new thrust from the commissioner of Police that public spaces must at all times give free and unfettered access to the public; and wherever illegal vending or illegal obstruction is taking place, then the police have the authority under the various acts to, not only to remove those persons, but to prosecute them,” Davis explained.

His counterpart in the bordering parish of Trelawny, Councillor Colin Gager, disclosed plans to use a plot of land close to the new state-of- the-art market in Falmouth to accommodate the increased number of vendors expected over the holiday period.

“We are going to be allowing vending on the piece of land adjoining the new market to accommodate the extra vendors. The area will be well lit,” Gager informed.

He was quick to issue a stern warning that except for fruit vendors in selected areas, no vending will be allowed in the historic town.

The St James Health Department has also cautioned that they will be keeping a close watch out for vendors acting “outside of the law”.

“We consume more in the Yuletide season. Persons who we did not know were butchers suddenly become butchers. Persons who we would see in different facilities, customer service etcetera, become restaurateurs, all operating outside of the law,” Lennox Wallace, the chief public health inspector at the St James Health Department, pointed out.

When contacted, Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar Councillor Bertel Moore disclosed that the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation is soon to meet to devise plans for the Christmas season.

Savanna-la-Mar, the parish capital, has in the past, been overwhelmed by unlawful vending during the Yuletide season.

Mayor of Lucea Councillor Sheridan Samuels told the Observer West that the Hanover Municipal Corporation is scheduled to have a meeting to formalise how vending will be conducted in the town of Lucea during the Yuletide season, in the coming days.

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