Tue | Nov 21, 2017

Good for safety, bad for business - Shop owners, students brace for ZOSO impact

Published:Thursday | October 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines
Members of the security forces check a driver’s identification before letting him through one of the checkpoints onOxford Street in Denham Town, west Kingston, yesterday.
Members of the security forces check the identification of a resident before letting him through one of the checkpoints on Bond Street in Denham Town, west Kingston, yesterday.
An empty bar in Denham Town in West Kingston yesterday.
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Having felt the first-day cramp of their community being designated a zone of special operations (ZOSO), small-business owners and operators in Denham Town, west Kingston, are fearful that a minimum 60-day stay by the security forces might cripple their establishments altogether.

While acknowledging that the massive security operation is in the best interest of law-abiding residents, the proprietors are bemoaning the fact that they will have to close up to five hours earlier.

The owners have also taken issue with what they have described as the "poor mannerisms" of the security forces on the ground.

"This reminds me of the incursion," Timo, proprietor of Caney's Pub on Oxford Street, told The Gleaner yesterday.

"Things did done slow already, and now we have to lock up after seven when a did usually 9 p.m. and usually 10:30 p.m. to 11:00 on Fridays," said Timo. "We can't manage that fi two more months, but we just have to comply. I'm not against the operation because the place did a gwaan bad, but it rough pon di business dem."

At the corner of North and Regent streets, Marcia, the owner of Riddim and Blues Drinking Hub, shared Timo's view, stating that the security forces should compromise on a "reasonable time".

"It just rough and tough pon west pon a whole," said Marcia.

"Twenty-odd years now me a run bar, and gunfire will make you have to lock up, yes, but if the area secured now and everybody get checked, there's no need to lock that early. The bartender usually deh ya till all 11-12 p.m., and yesterday, dem ask her to lock off around 7 o'clock. Suh that is a whole heap a profit (lost)," she explained.

She continued: "On top of that, some of the police dem really don't have any respect, tell you bad words. The people dem need the zones fi sleep good ina dem bed, yes, but we have to earn money also. Twenty-odd years now me a do this, and I really feel like giving up."

Directly across the street, Angela, who has operated Wholesale and Retail Liquor for 32 years, cut a somber figure as she sat alone, staring into space.

"Dem coulda even say 9 o'clock because a night we start sell, 7 o'clock thereabout. I can't cope with this. I have to go look another work," said Angela.

'Nothing nah change'

Having cleared the checkpoint on her way back home, a female student from Denham Town, west Kingston, was yesterday heard decrying her community being made a zone of special operations (ZOSO).

"All of this is pointless. Nothing nah change. So is like dem just want to know how many people live here with ID. Dem need fi lift up outta the place. Dem wouldn't go over Spain go do this," the youngster declared sarcastically.

A male secondary school student also voiced his discontent with the lengthy wait to be processed.

"Me late this morning, and me just stand up down deh suh fi round 15 minutes just fi gah me yard, like is a prison. As far as me see, this place nah get better, so a just fi man work hard, make some money, and leave."