Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Photographers on Tuesday protested outside the gates of the Cecil Charlton Park in Mandeville over the final decision made by the parish council to have the park opened strictly between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., to avoid vandalisation.
The disgruntled photographers, who were granted their request for access to the park, deemed the move total disrespect and demanded better treatment.
"I have been doing this (photography) over 40 years and never once have I or any of the photographers been locked out of the park," expressed an angry Michael Lewis.
"We have been given a time of 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and that makes no real sense because we normally work right up until Christmas, and the time given is not our peak time. The majority of people normally come way after 5:00 pm, and see dem not even open the park yet," he said.
In addition to the evident loss in business, the photographers were also concerned about the public service of the park, currently under renovation.
"This is the only park in Jamaica that is closed at this time, I can guarantee you," another photographer stated.
"Where do they expect the parents to take their children? It's sad looking on persons peeping through the metal bars and not be able to go through."
The men, who had to resort to building makeshift tents outside the park, noted their understanding of the parish council's need to protect the facility, but stated that there should be strategies implemented other than the time restriction in usage.
"We would never sit in there and watch people vandalise the park and do nothing about it, it is ours to take care of," said George Welch.
"If the parish council thinks it's best to charge a reasonable fee for park usage, then we have noproblem paying it," he added.