Clean-Up Exercise in St. James

No. 63 Monday, March 8, 2010
The St. James Parish Council lead by Mayor Charles Sinclair, commenced a big clean up around Montego Bay on Sunday, February 28, seizing and demolishing properties of vendors, who it is said are operating illegally.

    The clean up operation was carried out along the Civic Centre, Kerr Crescent, and Lawrence Lane where 700 pirated DVD's were seized from vendors along with unlabeled herb roots drink.
    The Mayor later moved his operation to the St. James High School area, where he proceeded to seize properties and demolish the stalls of vendors, accused of operating without permits.
    "The reasons we demolished those stalls at St. James High was firstly, vending requires permit, vendors at the school don't have permits and so are operating in appropriately, and secondly there is a Sale in Public Regulation that prohibits the sale of goods in public places, whether that be in a town or school area, stated Mayor Charles Sinclair in an interview.
    The Mayor further added that, he has being getting a number of complaints from the school about various activities and behavioral practices vendors are indulging in with students.
    "The school has been complaining that vendors are selling drugs to students as well as keeping uniform and hiding weapons for them."
    However, when contacted, vendors told our newspaper that, any such allegation made against them was fallacious, and that the Parish Council is working together with the school's principal to get rid of them.
    "These allegations are false, we have permits and aren't engaging in anything illegal with students," said vendor Vinett Lawrence.
    "I along with other vendors have been selling here at the school for more than 20 years. It is our only means of income so as to provide for our families and we have no where else to go.
    Vendors add that they are even more upset over the fact that no one contact or informed them off what would happened.
    "When we went up to the school Sunday evening everything was destroyed. Why didn't we receive a warning or notice before, that says we are to leave," said one irate vendor.
    When asked about the items taken by the Parish Council, such as the machete and T squares, the vendors informed our newspaper that T-squares were usually given to them by the students to keep, as this is something that's allowed by the school, along with the keeping of cell phones that aren't permitted on school ground. The machete, however, is said used to cut down shrubs and over hanging branches that gets in the way of there vending, and was not given to them by any student.
    Our newspaper got hold of Principal of St. James High, Joseph Williams, who told us that the allegations made by vendors is highly incorrect as there isn't any reason for him to want to get rid of them.
    "The vendors have been outside and not on the school grounds for years; they are not violating the school laws so why all of a sudden would I want to get rid of them."
    He further added that, even though he has no connection for what has happened, threats have been issued to him by the vendors.
    The Mayor said this is just the start, as he and
the Parish Council will be cleaning up the streets of Montego Bay of illegally operating vendors in the
coming weeks and any vendors caught in the act will be prosecuted.

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