Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Mayor defies Grand Market protesters

Published:Tuesday | December 8, 2020 | 12:14 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer
Leeroy Williams, mayor of Montego Bay.
Leeroy Williams, mayor of Montego Bay.

Scores of angry hawkers demonstrated before the St James Municipal Corporation building in Montego Bay on Monday, saying they are in disagreement with the limited time given for vending during the upcoming Christmas holiday.

The mostly placard-bearing women used the protest to call for the resignation of Mayor Leeroy Williams, who recently announced that there will be no Grand Market in the western city.

“We want justice, we pickney dem a starve and we want more time because 1 o’clock caa work,” chanted the angry vendors, who were kept under close surveillance by the security forces.

The coronavirus curfew will take effect at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, or Grand Market day, curtailing brisk business that would normally run into the wee hours of Christmas morning. Vending will be allowed as of 1 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Dorothy Gayle said that vending was funding schooling for two of her three children. She said she was understanding of the COVID-19 concerns that had spurred the austere policy but appealed for consideration for her plight.

Williams was adamant that there would be no policy reversal.

“ ... There are some streets which are designated for vending, and the vendors they know where these streets are, and they are permitted to vend on those streets, so I am not saying they should not come out and vend,” he said.

“Of course, I agree that more time could be given and I have decided to give them more time so that they can come out early and do their vending.”