'Me name dutty up the jail book' ... Sugar cane vendor says he risks being locked up to school his children
For the past 25 years, Christopher 'Caney' Walker has earned an income from selling cane in Linstead, St Catherine.
"A right yah so me stay and sell enough to send me six kids dem to school. Me daughter is a big accountant and me son is a soldier. Me next daughter could a be an accountant too, but she gone a farrin," he said with pride.
However, Caney told The STAR that he is extremely frustrated with the manner in which he and other vendors are dealt with by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force in the northern St Catherine town.
"The police dem a mi problem right ya now. The government naah move right, because when a man like me can sell cane and send mi pickney dem go school fi dem come be somebody professional ina di country, and den the government send police come lock me up, whe uno wa me do, be a prisoner?"
Caney said that while trying to make a living, he has had to spend numerous nights behind bars on different occasions.
"Ano likkle time me go a jail enuh. me go more than 20 times. Me name dutty up the jail book all because me sell cane right ya so so me can send me pickney dem go school," he said.
"When dem lock we up yaso, more time, all $30,000 we have to pay a courthouse, so right now, me have to end up a parish council fi go get licence to sell and other documents just to sell cane," Caney added.
For months, the St Catherine community has been plagued by criminal activities, including several murders and robberies. Caney said that he is imploring the lawmen to divert their attention to catching the criminals that have been disrupting the usually quiet community.
"Yuh have a police out yah whe move like him a God. When him a come, everybody have to take up dem tings and run like dem hear news. Me sidung right yah suh already and see police a lay wait we over the side a di road, and bare shot start beat and man a dead, and none a dem nuh run off in the direction. But dem nuh ramp fi run we dung like Usain," he said.
Caney said that the vendors are often the target of harassment because the police strongly believe that they are supporting the criminals.
"Every day the police dem come a work, a the vendors, taxi man, and hustlers dem a grab. Di police dem a say the seller dem a help buy gun and shot, but my money naah support nuh bad man, a my family it spend pon. Right now, me wa buy piece a land, and a right yah so me a sidung and sell and buy it," he said.