Breaking News

Round 1 To Street Vendors

June 21
19:07 2019

Friday, June 21, 2019 –
In a release issued Thursday evening, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams explained that the Police will back down from a directive issued a week ago which would have forced late-night street vendors to close early.

In the release, Williams states that he “has discussed the matter regarding the closing of the Street Venders at 12:00 midnight with the Minister of National Security, and is of the view that it amounts to a deprivation of the vendors’ rights to work. It was also agreed that this practice must cease and desist with forthwith.”

The closure of the vendors met with strident outcry early this week, after Police started enforcing directives that vendors on the Southside of the city would be shut down at midnight, and vendors on the Northside of the city would be shut down at 2:00am. Vendors claimed that they serve a niche, that is persons who come out of the many nightclubs and bars in the city and want food, and the closure so early would destroy their businesses.

Earlier this week, Assistant of Commissioner Edward Broaster gave an interview in which he rationalized that by clearing the streets of the vendors, it would keep them safe from the criminals who would prey on them. “Well, the thing is, a man without a gun cannot shoot. A man with a gun will shoot. If we have less people on the streets, that is less targets for crime or people to become victims of crime whether it be robbery or assault or fatal shooting of that or the sort. So, he who controls the street controls the crime.”

Needless to say, that rationalization was not well met. In his release, Commissioner Williams closed by stating that “while the Police effort in trying to minimize the amount of people on the streets during late night hours can be understood, this cannot override the rights of the Street Venders to an honest means of living. The Police will therefore work with the venders with a view to making the area within which they work safer for all.”

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