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December 4, 2013
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Commissioner's request angers windscreen cleaners
Diandra Grandison, Staff Reporter


Some of the windscreen cleaners. - Ian Allen

Persons who use windscreen cleaning as their main source of income are in discontent, after Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington stated recently that he was requesting the government to put in legislation to authorise the police to charge them for conducting their occupation.

Thirty-year-old windscreen cleaner, Phillip Edwards, who operates at the Portia Simpson Miller square in Three Miles, St Andrew, told THE STAR that he and many of his colleagues are irked by the commissioner's request, as they are not being provided with an alternative.

"We out yah ah suffer! From mi likkle bit me a dweet, Commissioner naa get me a job, all dem a lef we fi do a fi go teef and rob! We waa lef but how yah go tek we offa di road and we naav nuh weh else fi go?" asked a visibly upset Edwards

Meanwhile, 24-year-old Sinbad said if an alternative is provided through skills training, then there would be no need to arrest them, as they would have the means to seek gainful employment.

"Mi nuh waa dem think we naav nuh future! Build us a training centre so we can learn a trade, if me learn a trade yuh naa see me back yah suh again," he said.

According to the young men, about 25 windscreen cleaners hustle in that area.

They say it has been a constant battle between themselves and the police, with almost all of them having spent time behind bars due to their 'job'.

"Mi spend one month a jail already," 23-year-old Kemar, who has been working as a windscreen cleaner for approximately three years, said. He revealed he was held by the police after a group of hoodlums ran off after committing a crime in the area.

The solicitors stated that, as with everything in life, there is good and bad. "Mi naa go seh yuh naav windscreen cleaners weh naa do bad, but we roun' here suh naa trouble nuh badi and it nuh fair to we, fi di good suffer for the bad," one declared.

Sinbad suggested that a meeting be held with all the stakeholders to address their concerns. "The police should have a meeting with all of us and talk to us and see what can be done for us, if a sumting fi draw tax like di handcart ting, dem wudda leave we alone!"

The group said from their meagre earnings they are able to sustain not only themselves and their family, but also members of their community.

"We mek around $1,000 a day and some ah we use it and help we likkle brothers and sisters, and even people inna we community who will see we and beg we ah money fi help buy food," one added.

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