Handcart owners targeted ... mayor, police want order
If Scean Barnswell is returned as May Pen's mayor, handcart operators could be forced to pay a fee to work in May Pen.
Barnswell said that persons have been complaining about being injured by careless handcart operators. He told THE WEEKEND STAR that the greatest challenge in his first term as mayor was getting handcart operators to conform to the rules of the road. He said they are "becoming a nuisance on Fridays and Saturdays in the market district".
"You have senior citizens who are coming into the market to get fresh fruits and food stuff and they complain about being run over or being injured from the handcarts," Barnswell said. "It's a huge challenge to get them to operate those devices in a manner that is acceptable. We haven't been able to get them to fall in line." If the Clarendon Parish Council is successful in implementing the policy, it would join the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) as the local authorities that have placed a fee on the operations of handcarts. In 2013, the KSAC moved to regularise handcart usage in downtown Kingston. More than 500 handcarts have been registered.
Meanwhile the Clarendon Police Division has devised a plan to curb the problem. Commander Vendolyn Cameron- Powell, told THE WEEKEND STAR, that a town enforcement team has been put in place to bring order.
"The team started operating two weeks ago to manage these situations in May Pen, not just handcart pushers but vendors and taxi operators," Cameron-Powell said. "We are not trying to run them out of business. We are just trying to get them to conform to the rules to make them operate in a decent fashion." Meanwhile, Barnswell said that he understands the role a handcart plays in assisting vendors.
"If we should just say no handcarts we understand the problem that may create for vendors who want to move their goods from one place to another," he said, noting the handcart operating business provides good returns. According to Barnswell, a handcart owner owns as many as 75 carts and rents one for $200 per day. If all carts are rented for a five-day week, it would mean $75,000 in weekly income.
Barnswell said that if he is returned as mayor after the November 28 Local Government elections, he would request a meeting with handcart owners to find a way to reduce the numbers. He said the plan is to limit owners to 20 or 30 carts each. He said he is considering colour codes to identify handcarts, adding that owners would have to register with the council.