St James Street declared ‘no-vending zone’
Despite many previous failed attempts, the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) has again declared St James Street, located in the heart of downtown Montego Bay, which is currently being overrun by street vendors, as a no-vending zone with immediate effect.
During a meeting on Monday with vendors who ply their wares on St James Street, much to the chagrin of legitimate store owners and other businesses, Montego Bay’s Mayor Leeroy Williams declared that the ‘no-vending’ directive will be strictly enforced as the encroachment by vendors is impeding pedestrians and motorists who use that section of the city.
“We must have law and order along this major roadway, which is being overrun by vendors, posing challenges to motorists and pedestrians,” said Williams. “Measure has been put in place to have the vendors peddle their goods in other locations around the city that we have designated as vending zones.”
Williams say he is fully cognisant of the fact that many persons earn their livelihood from street vending, but he is insisting that it must be done in an orderly manner, hence the decision to create special areas in the city for vending.
“I have no problem with vending as I am fully aware that it supports the livelihood of many, but it must be done in such a way that law and order is maintained in the city, especially on St James Street, which continues to be one of the busiest roadways in Montego Bay,” said Williams.
“I wish to use this opportunity to warn the vendors that failure to comply will result in serious actions being taken against those who fail to comply. These measures could include seizure of goods, prosecution, and a ban on offending vendors being registered to trade in the parish of St James,” added Williams.
WILLING TO COMPLY
Interestingly, the vendors, many of whom have been engaged in a long-running ‘cat and mouse’ situation with the parish’s municipal police, gave the mayor and assurance that they are willing to comply. However, some complained that the COVID-19 curfew, which requires that they leave the streets at a particular time, was hampering their ability to earn at their level of expectation.
“We understand the effects of the curfew on vending but we must appreciate that adhering to the COVID-19 regulations is mainly about containing to spread of the coronavirus, which has proven to be quite dangerous,” explained Williams.
Gerald Lee, the chief executive officer of the StJMC, and Police Inspector Delroy Harriott, who were both in attendance at the meeting, fully supported the ‘no-vending’ decision and said they will play their part in supporting it.
“The Jamaica Constabulary Force will be adopting a zero-tolerance approach to vending along St James Street in support of the announcement by Mayor Williams. We have been observing the space and are fully aware of the areas where the breaches are taking place and will be moving to take corrective actions,” said Harriott.