Windscreen wipers want regulation

August 25, 2016
Jermaine Barnaby/Freelance Photographer These windshield wipers believe that consideration should be given to a suggestion for their vocation to be regularised.

Several men who operate as windshield cleaners in the Corporate Area said they would welcome a licensing and registration system to regulate their illegitimate trade, as it would be a much better alternative than constantly running from police officers.

Since last week, the St Andrew Central and St Andrew South police arrested and charged over 50 young men, who wipe wind screens in the city's busy thoroughfares, for breaches of the Main Road Act.

The police said the move was part of a wider operational strategy to restore and maintain public order.

Among those arrested was 27-year-old Kemar David, who said he has been wiping windscreens since his early teens. He said he does not plan to stop any time soon as he has three children to provide for.

"Mi apply fi a whole heap a job and still nah get through. Mi even a do harder work than this and nah make no money. This help me a lot and help mi fi send me daughter go back to school," he explained.

He told THE STAR that he pleaded guilty to the charges in court on Friday, and was back on the streets wiping windscreens the following Monday.

David further explained that the police are clamping down on them because a fellow windshield cleaner broke a woman's window recently.

"The man wha dweet, it look like him run gone. But if me personally see him, me woulda hold him and carry him go a the station, because him a burn bad lamp fi me and my kids them. If me have to move from yasso, me no see what me ago do fi make a living," he lamented.


Garth Rattray, writing in the The Sunday Gleaner this week, proposed that the Government implements a licensing and registration system for the men, which would institute order in the trade and weed out misbehaving and underage individuals.

David said he would not be averse to such a move.

"Nothing no wrong with that. If a that me affi do, a it me a go do, because it will keep me through. A it make me eat food and live until God ready fi me," he said.

Similarly, 26-year-old Lemar Moore, who has been working as a windshield cleaner for three years, said he would welcome a system to regulate the trade, as he has a six-year-old daughter to care for.

"If them want fi do that we into it. As long as them nah take we off the road, because them nah provide no job fi we," he said.

"Right ya now, me owe $2,600 fi mi daughter uniform. A it me wah work fi pay off before the police them lock me up. Mi no know wha some a the youths dem a go do after this if the police them stop we from hustle," he said.

Twenty-five-year old Javan Johnson, who has been wiping windscreens for seven years, said the good are suffering for the bad, and he would appreciate some order in the trade, as his three-year-old daughter has to go to school.

"A it me a tell me friend dem from the other day, say it better them come in with a licensing system so we work inna we uniforms; and if them fi collect fees, them do that. Mi no have a problem with that because mi no have nothing else fi do," he said.

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