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February 22, 2013
Star News


A curse and a blessing - Downtown divided on 'parking assistants'
Diandra Grandison, Star Writer

Some motorists are complaining that they are being hindered from gaining access to free parking in downtown Kingston, due to stones and other debris being used to occupy spots.

While driving through the commercial hub, stones were seen in several free parking spots. Many are being reserved for motorists and business owners by car washers.

"We help people find a place to park when them come to town. We also put them there to keep the spot for the business owners, so that when they come they can park there," Tawan, who has been washing cars since 2009, said. "It's not like a pay thing, we just help people, dem pay if they have it, if they don't, they just don't have it to pay, we don't hassle them around here."

Tawan, who operates primarily at King Street, said for his efforts he will receive anything ranging from $800 to $1,500 a day, this he uses to assist his family. "Me feel better doing this than a teef or rob because me can't get a job," he added.

But while some motorists complain, others find these men helpful.

"Downtown has poor parking space, so when I need parking they will assist me and whenever I can, I will give them a little something," a motorist seen getting assistance said. "Yes, there are some who are very disrespectful but there are others who understand when I say I don't have it to give."


The manager for a popular store said: "It has its good and bad. They secure a spot for me in the morning and will assist me with opening and closing the store. The negative is that customers will come and feel intimidated because some of the guys attitudes are poor."

Another business owner said: "They are very helpful, they protect our vehicle and our stores they look out for us and our clients as well. I don't have any problems with the practice."

"I am not aware of any complaints being made in relation to this practice, but from time to time we might see the stones and remove them," a policeman said. "Some of these guys look out for and protect people's vehicles, there have been occasions where people's cars have been broken into and some of them have assisted with apprehending the crooks."

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