Vendors cry foul as municipal police seize goods
Vendors in downtown Kingston are alleging abuse at the hands of some municipal police. "Dem a move like police. Dem a lick we up and a ruff up and a talk bout operation," one vendor told THE STAR yesterday.
His comments came as the municipal police embarked on a major operation in the downtown market business, seizing goods that were being displayed in areas that have not been approved for vending.
Municipal police personnel, dressed in blue denim, were chasing vendors throughout the parade area of downtown Kingston and taking away goods that were being offered for sale in no vending area.
"We nuh deal with cat and mouse thing cause if a cat and mouse thing we can deh inna di garrison with the ruff youth dem", said a male brassiere vendor.
Some of the vendors claim they have been told by the municipal police it is ok for them to sell goods on the sidewalks.
"Dem say we mus stay on the sidewalk and sell, but dem still a run in and tek weh our goods dem. And dem deal wid we all type of way. We a work with dem so dem fi jus work with we to," one woman said.
"You have a set weh say people can sell on the sidewalk and then another set weh jus start tek weh people goods," another vendor said.
However, Town Clerk Robert Hill said the municipal police are obliged to act whenever the law is being broken.
"Illegal vendors use Beckford Street because it is the main corridor where people move to catch transport and it is an advantageous area for them," he said.
Hill said that the vendors who believe they have permission to sell on Beckford Street are mistaken.