Don't blame cops for vending problem - SSP McGregor
In a stinging counteract attack, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Steve McGregor says the St. James Parish Council (STJPC) and not the police is to be blamed for the presence of the disobedient vendors, who are overrunning the streets of downtown Montego Bay with impunity at nights.
In last week's edition of the Western Focus, Montego Bay's mayor, Councillor Glendon Harris, who recently initiated an ambitious anti-vending campaign for the western city, says the police are not clamping down on illegal vending activities, which goes on after 6 p.m., when the official work day of the municipal police, who are assigned to the council, ends.
"When you engage these vendors they will show their receipts that they are paying fees to the Parish Council for operating in the area," said McGregor, in shifting the blame back to the StJPC.
"They have been doing this for some time, so you see when we go to them, we now get the blame and people say how we wicked with what we are doing."
In a recent interview with the Western Focus, Mayor Harris stated that while the municipal police would assiduously during the day to curb the street-vending problem, he was not seeing the same effort from the regular police after 6 p.m. when they end their tour of duty each day.
" ... the council had made numerous attempts to get the police to support the anti-vending initiative. I just came out of a meeting where that was a part of the whole discussion we were having," the mayor said.
However, McGregor is insisting that the police is very much a part of keeping the vendors off the street during the daylight hours, noting that they have been working alongside the municipal police.
"If the parish council can manage on their own in the day, maybe they should take full control of the day and then we will take charge at night," said McGregor sarcastically. "Or, since the parish council realises that it is at night that there is a problem, they The municipal police) should not be finishing working in the night. "
In explaining what the police has been doing to arrest the problem, McGregor said they have been stepping up activities to curb illegal street vending and have developed a 'three strike' approach to encourage compliance.
"We (the police) use the three strike rule. We first warn them, then we seize them (goods and carts) and if they plan to continue, we are going to prosecute them," explained McGregor. "When we bring structure to the township, it will send a message to the average people that it is not business as usual and you can't do anything you feel like anywhere and get away with it."