Thu | Dec 8, 2016

No downtown Christmas chaos, Kingston mayor vows

Published:Thursday | November 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM
This file photo shows the scene along beckford Street, downtown Kingston, days before Christmas, 2012.

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

Describing last year Christmas in downtown Kingston as 'horrible', Mayor of Kingston, Angela Brown Burke, is warning that this year, there will be a zero-tolerance approach to lawlessness and chaos.

Speaking at the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation's (KSAC) monthly meeting Tuesday, she made reference to Beckford Street, which she said is officially a no-vending area, due to recurring complaints and disorder.

"We acknowledge that when it approaches the Christmas season, we will have to make arrangements to accommodate the influx of vendors but based on what I have seen for myself, if we allow a free for all, in a couple weeks, we will be unable to manage it, because it is very chaotic," the mayor said.

Intimidated by vendors

"A couple of weeks ago complaints increased about issues particularly on Beckford Street. Individuals going through, in their vehicles, are literally intimidated by the vendors. People have literally blocked the street and so what that means is that you have to be a skilful driver if you want to get around and we can't allow that to happen," she said.

She added, "Some of these vendors are very brazen. They have no remorse; they have placed their wares in the middle of the road with no intentions to move, and we just cannot bow to that level of lawlessness."

Burke stressed that there will be a strong police presence along vending areas, adding that discussions with stakeholders have been successful.

"Fortunately, we have had some fruitful discussions with the police in this regard, and we have improved the working relationship where that is concerned. We are doing all we can to make sure that we address the gaps that exist," she said.

"We get a lot of bashing and we are told that we are unfair but I make no apologies for the stance we have taken. We have to get back to basics and I am committed to the cause, because we will not have a repeat of last year," she declared.