Vendors increase social disorder at Christmas time
Vendors tend to disobey the rules of their respective parish councils at Christmas time in order to take full advantage of Christmas shoppers. It is the same situation every year for vendors in May Pen, Clarendon. The vendors in the town are given market spaces by the Clarendon Municipal Corporation during the Christmas season. One such place is the Old Police Station, where they can rent a space for the season. Winston Maragh, the mayor of May Pen explained, “We always do a registration of the vendors that will be selling in the town… We also have identified, like we do every year, the vending areas, as well as the no vending areas.”
However, vendors are still selling in the no vending areas of the town and avoiding the space provided for them at the Old Police Station. One vendor said, “people nah come over there so, we have to stay where the traffic deh”. The vendor emphasized that it was hard to get people to go to that location as shoppers wanted to see everything in their eyesight. “We affi mek a money fi di Christmas, nothing nah gwaan fi wi otherwise”, said the vendor.
The vendors utilizing the no-vending zones cause traffic congestion and have been the target of the municipal police officers because of their disobedience. In a recent incident in the May Pen Town area, a municipal police officer was hospitalized after he was hit in the head by a stone. All this happened while he was trying to get a hold of the delinquent vendors.
A vendor complained of being mistreated by the municipal police, “day in, day out dem come and mash up we cart and tables, take weh we goods or destroy them same place and when we go to the office fi get dem back we a spend more than what it cost and that is not fair”.
A commuter said, “half of the road is blocked off by vendors from the clock to Sevens Road, and some sellers, instead of going into the Old Police Station, have goods on their carts, I think the vendors are learning to stay within the limits of the what the parish council gave them but they can do better”. Additionally, taxi operators are complaining about the congestion in the park near Stork Street. They report that there is barely any space to park because of the new sellers, “only seven cars can hold in here and that no make no sense, how di parish council fi load up the park wid sellers and nuh lef no space fi di taxi man dem.”
The municipal police are trying to prevent the sellers from taking up space on the road so as to facilitate a steady movement of traffic through the town instead of blocking off the town area and forcing other vehicles to use the highway. The municipal police utilize the support of members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to ensure that vendors are compliant.