Mon | Oct 22, 2018

Why chase vendors from Emancipation Park?

Published:Saturday | August 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The Tivoli Dance Troupe delivers a lively performance during the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's Emancipation Day (August 1) 'Reasoning In The Park', which took place in Emancipation Park, New Kingston. -JIS

Dear Jamaica!

I'm a citizen of the United States and visit Jamaica often, as I am married to a Jamaican. On Emancipation Day, August 1, I drove over to Emancipation Park and sat in my vehicle to watch families enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, I have limited mobility, so I could not enter the park.

I was not sure who was in attendance, whether politicians from both major political parties, major food distributors, bank officials, phone company representatives, etc. These companies benefit all year, from constituents to consumers. Why weren't they there to give back to the community?

I frequent the area and noticed an abundance of people. Clowns were painting the faces of kids and making characters out of balloons and handing them to the children. Some of the kids were frightened by the clowns but enjoyed the balloons. Lots of families ate ice cream and enjoyed their holiday.

However, I could not understand why, of all days, vendors were not allowed in the park, or, for that matter, were chased off the sidewalks by police. Why hasn't the Jamaican Government, or politicians from both sides, got involved to, perhaps, pay for the clowns to be in the park and offer them wages for the day or allow them to collect a small fee for their talents. Why weren't there any giveaways?

Why of all days did the police have to chase vendors from the area. It's Emancipation Day! If the police were more alert, they would have noticed all the grocery stores were closed and so, too, were most restaurants. So these vendors were providing a service to the community. I even made purchases from my car.

One vendor was terrified to stop in the street and assist me with an order, as he passed by with his grill, for fear of the police. He eventually parked his grill across the street and took my order.

As a disabled woman along with my husband, we were grateful. I'm a retired US police officer and I believe better discretion could have been shown by the police. Perhaps the office that oversees the vendors could have urged the police to disregard these minor violations for the holiday.

It's Emancipation Day for goodness sake!