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Allman Town residents angry over destruction of fish shop in community

Published:Friday | March 25, 2016 | 12:02 AMEdmond Campbell
Deputy Superintendent of Police Lynval Phoenix speaks with residents of Stephen Street in Kingston on Tuesday.

There is growing disquiet among residents of Stephen Street in Allman Town, Kingston, after a popular fish shop owned by Roy Ellis was destroyed by a team of police personnel on Tuesday.

Ellis told The Gleaner that he has been selling fried fish at the shop on Stephen Street for more than 30 years and has never been disturbed until Tuesday’s operation by the police.

“Mi just si the police dem come and say mi haffi fi guh stop sell fish because dem ago mash up di place.”

 Asked if he was warned by the police or the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation to remove his stall, Ellis said at no time did the police or the KSAC issue a notice for him to dismantle his shop.

“Mi just in deh a scale fish and mi see when dem come and dem say mi caan sell today so dem just start tear it down.”

Ellis said he did not know what he was going to do now that his means of livelihood has been destroyed.

Odean Smith, a resident of Allman Town, was peeved at the actions of the police, saying Ellis provided assistance to many who could not find a meal.

“You si dis ya man yah, when wi nuh have lunch money fi wi pickney dem wi can guh check him. You si when wi hungry wi can beg him a fish fi guh fry or him call wi little pickney dem and give dem two fish,” she said.

“You si di youth dem bout yah when dem think fi guh tief something him call dem and give dem a night work, one man help fry tonight and a next man help fry another night and get a little two grand from him,” Ellis explained.

However, Deputy Superintendent of Police Lynval Phoenix, operations officer for the Kingston Central division, said the police are on a campaign to remove all derelict structures from roadways.

He told The Gleaner that the fish shop was an impediment to motorists, including police patrols entering the community.

“It doesn’t matter whether or not he has been doing it for a period of time, his actions were illegal and as such we deem it necessary to correct what was wrong,” Phoenix declared.

He pointed out that the police were on a drive throughout the Kingston Central division to remove derelict structures along roadways and sidewalks.

Days before US President Barack Obama visited Jamaica in April last year, the stalls belonging to crab vendors at the southern section of National Heroes Circle were destroyed by personnel from the KSAC.

However, after Obama’s departure, the vendors returned to their vending location.

With the Kingston Central Police targeting illegal vending in Kingston the crab vendors at Heroes Circle could find themselves in trouble with the law, as the police carry out their zero tolerance drive to remove illegal vendors.