Portland businesses angry at illegal vending
Angered by the activities of vendors peddling goods at the entrance to their stores, business operators in Port Antonio are appealing to the Portland Municipal Corporation and its self-styled Revenue Enforcement Unit to restore public order.
The increased presence of vendors along the busy commercial streets in the parish capital is somewhat abnormal, given the fact that the police went on an all-out drive just three weeks ago to rid William Street, Blake Street, West Street, and Harbour Street of vendors.
"It could very well be that the council has relaxed its enforcement to allow vendors to make a sale during the back-to-school rush, "commented Paul Thompson, mayor of Port Antonio.
He added that "this is by no means abnormal, and I am sure there is a logical explanation for the increased activities on the part of vendors. But I am expecting that come Monday morning, the Portland municipal police will resume its normal operations of enforcement, and anyone caught selling in a no-vending area will be prosecuted".
But that decision has not gone down well with some business operators, including Garfield Sinclair of Kamals supermarket and cambio, who is alleging that as a result of the vending, shoppers are forced to walk in the busy street, while traffic is at its peak, exposing themselves to danger.
"The entire corridor of West Street is littered with vending activities, "said Sinclair.
He continued: "As a matter of fact, vendors are peddling right in front of my supermarket. My security officers have spoken to them on several occasions about their illegal activity, but were met with a barrage of verbal abuse and expletives by those peddling."
Sinclair said, "it cannot be that such scant regard for public order is being shown by vendors, who are of the opinion that they have a God-given right to sell infront of all commercial buildings."
Ground provisions, including yam, banana, plantain, ackee, potato, breadfruit, pepper, ginger, turmeric, cabbage and pineapple, are being sold in large quantities along the various streets in Port Antonio. Others have been selling back-to-school items and DVDs.