December 28, 2012
Street-parking solicitors worried about livelihood
Diandra Grandison, Star Writer
There is discontent among persons in the downtown Kingston area who earn a living from soliciting money from motorists to park in public spaces after head of the Police Traffic Division, Senior Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis, announced that he would be bringing a halt to this practice.
THE WEEKEND STAR visited one such location, an open lot parallel the Pechon Street Bus Station, and witnessed several young men competing with each other for the opportunity to assist motorists with the parking of their vehicles.
One of the young men who works in the parking lot said he is very worried as this is his only means of earning a living. "Mi nuh really av nothing else fi do, so mi jus come here come hustle a daytime," he said.
Another young man said: "Dis a mi side hustle, mi work a di store cross di street, but mi come here couple times fi di week."
When asked if this occupation is very lucrative, he responded: "Yeah man, on a bad day mi mek roun' three grand ($3,000) and dat help mi out a lot, especially fi tek care a mi youth."
In an interview with THE GLEANER published Wednesday, December 19, Lewis stated: "What they are doing is loitering to carry out their illegal activities. They can be arrested for breaching the Main Road Act and I am going to make sure it doesn't happen."
But Roy, another solicitor, responded: "Mi nuh waa nuh trouble from di police cause a work wi a work. We naa rob nuh baddi, ova yah and we nuh trouble nuh bhadi, cause is not all the while we get a money when we help dem park."
He continued, "Nuh bhadi vehicle kyah get tief when we ova here. Look a pure top vehicle park yah suh."
When asked how much money they are given for their services, Barry, another hustler, said: "It depends, like di big man dem will give us anything from $500 to $600 while di regular man dem will give us bills ($100).
Floyd, a motorist who regularly parks his motor vehicle in the parking lot, told THE WEEKEND STAR: "I normally give them $100 whenever I use the facility. I'm not really comfortable doing this but there isn't anywhere else to park and here is more convenient."
Another motorist said, "I don't really have a problem with the men in here cause when I have it to give I give and I know they keep the place secure."
But a police officer who conducts patrols and inspections in the Pechon Street area told THE WEEKEND STAR that he is in agreement with Lewis and says it's long overdue because "people are always complaining".
He continued: "But while they are complaining, they don't want to make an official statement because they don't want to go to court."
Lewis said he will be asking the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation to consider new parking regulations to address the issue.
"Mi nuh waa nuh trouble from di police, cause a work wi a work, we naa rob nuh baddi ova yah ..."