Pay ‘backra tax’ or face the consequences: Police issue warning
Come March 1, it will not be business as usual for the over 500 vendors operating in Clarendon South East.
The strong warning was given by Zone Commander South, Detective Sergeant Paul Bernard at a Proactive Violence Interruption Strategy community forum held at Hayes New Testament Church of God.
The meeting was the culmination of a walk through of the communities involving the police and the Northern Caribbean University behavioural and social sciences students.
“You must pay backra tax. If this little country Jamaica was collecting 70 per cent what it due to collect, Jamaica would be the best place in the world to live,” Bernard said.
He told the gathering that the time had come for the businesses to be regularised and “stop serving under counter”.
“People here please take the message to your counterpart who have these little places call shop and not even have one ounce a running water, but a sell food. It won’t be business as usual cause come March 1, the courthouse a guh full if you doan regularise your operation,” was the strong warning coming from him.
On the cop’s radar will be the unregistered barbers, hairdressers, jerk centres, car wash and those who have been illegally ‘tiefing’ the electricity.
Bernard said a collaboration has been formed with the Jamaica Public Service and the Clarendon health department in the operation which is expected to kick off the first of next month.
People’s National Party caretaker Patricia Duncan Sutherland who was at the meeting cautioned Bernard about his stance, noting that it should be “done in partnership and not a war” as persons who are running the shops or jerking are doing it because they have no other jobs.
“Nobody grow up and say what I want to do is jerk chicken or be a shopkeeper, nobody ever say I want to open an illegal shop. That is not their desire. Anybody doing it, is out of necessity,” she said, as she warned that the move could bring about more goat thieves.
“I agree with law and order, but I agree with a partnership to regularise,” she said, suggesting that there should be a period of education partnership before the enforcement.
“Walk with people from HEART Trust, safety division, go with health officers, carry the forms explain the process,” she said.