Cops keeping away our customers
Vendors in May Pen, Clarendon, are claiming that the increased police presence in the town is causing them to lose customers.
The decision by the May Pen police to zero in on areas that vendors usually converge has not gone down well with the small business operators.
"Dem come wid dem armoured vehicles in the places weh we a try sell and make a living. Customers nah come here because we haffi a run up and down," said Norman Francis, who sells close to the centre of the town.
Another vendor said the police were treating the sellers like criminals.
"We a get treated like criminal and my customer dem nah come round here so because dem say a bare police deh yah so," said Garcia Thompson, who peddles ground products in the town.
Thompson said her sales have dropped by more than 50 per cent since the increased police presence had begun a few weeks.
"Me nah make no money, none a we round here nah make no money at all because customers nah come when dem see police," said Thompson.
Claude Thomas, who sells belts, said the police need to focus on the high murder rate in Clarendon.
"Look how much man a dead a May Pen and them a terrorise vendor weh nah do nutten. Everyweh we look a police and green van (armoured vehicles)," said Thomas.
But the vendors said they are resilient and will not be stopped by the increased police presence.
"Dis a me only way a living, me nah stop sell cuz me pickney dem haffi eat," said a determined Thompson.
Francis, who also intends to continue selling in May Pen, says vendors should unite and ask for reprieve during the Christmas period.
"Me just a ask dem fi give we the holiday so we (vendors) can have a Merry Christmas like everyone else," said Francis.
But Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey, the head of the Clarendon police, said there will be more police personnel present in the town during the Christmas holiday.
"We want the residents to know that they will be able to move freely during the holidays so we will be increasing our presence," said Bailey.
Bailey said the police have no plans of letting up on cracking down on vendors that are operating illegally.
"The vendors see May Pen as a weak link and come from other parishes where they can't sell, but we want some semblance of order so we are going to continue with our strong presence in the town," added Bailey.
He also encouraged vendors to operate in their specified areas so that citizens can be able to do their businesses easier.