Port Antonio vendors cry foul over treatment by municipal cops
Port Antonio, Portland:
Tension is rising between vendors plying their wares along several streets in Port Antonio, Portland, and the municipal police, who are strenuously trying to restore order in the capital.
The vendors, who accuse the municipal police of carrying out their duties without discretion, are alleging that their goods have been seized and damaged.
Michelle McFarlane, who spoke on behalf of more than 20 vendors along Harbour, William and West streets, said that more than 70 East Indian mangoes belonging to her were damaged by the municipal police during a raid on Monday.
“I cannot get a space in the market. Everywhere I go they turn me down,” said McFarlane.
“I cannot just go home and stay in. I have six kids to provide for, so I have to go out there selling on the roadside to hustle to bring home something for them. I cannot leave and go home just like this. I know that I shouldn’t be here, but I have to be here, because I don’t have a job,” she said.
According to McFarlane her loss is approximately $15,000 and she was not charged with any offence.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Portland Municipal Corporation, Jennifer Brown-Cunningham, told The Gleaner that she was unaware of any dispute between the municipal police and vendors. According to the CEO, the municipal police are expected to carry out their duties in a professional manner, which they have always done.
Brown-Cunningham said she was not aware of any bad blood between vendors and the municipal police. However, the CEO said she will carry out an investigation into the claims by the vendors.