I would like to respond to the article captioned ‘City police eviction of Robb St vendor creates ruckus’ carried in the August 1, 2013 edition of the Stabroek News.
Your article is biased and extremely sympathetic to this individual. It would appear that your reporter made no attempt to identify the reasons for the Mayor and City Council actions. While I do agree that the constabulary action may have been a bit harsh at the time, the “wrong and strong” attitude of the individual could have contributed to their forceful response.
I would like to highlight the following points:
1. The elaborate structure, while it may have had wheels was not mobile but a permanent structure that was there 24 hours a day. Since it was placed there it was never moved.
2. Junkies slept there at nights.
3. The individual employed junkies to clean the stand and move the glass cases at nights. Do I need to describe their condition? They cleaned his area and dumped the garbage in the grass nearby.
4. The place is on the roadside, which is dusty and dirty. The dust from the road rises every time a car passes and persons urinate all the time in close proximity to the stand. Is that somewhere conducive for selling food?
5. The individual started as early as 7 am in the morning and sold until 10 and 11 pm in the night. Isn’t this a public health issue? This happened Monday to Saturday.
6. He was abusive to people who parked their cars nearby and operated as though he was the landlord for the area.
7. His stand was fast becoming a liming area for unsavoury characters whose lewd and filthy comments at passing women were sickening.
8. I am happy to say that since his removal these individuals have so far disappeared from the area.
9. There was no privacy, because this individual and his friends and customers sat and observed all that went on in the area.
10. This person had begun to cook on the parapet. Gas connections were already connected to the stand to facilitate cooking which would pose a fire hazard.
11. This individual was not properly attired to sell food.
What your reporter should have done was to discover whether this individual had a food handler’s certificate and try to ascertain the facts and the reasons for his removal before rushing to write an article based solely on hearsay and emotional outbursts from persons who know nothing about the facts or about law and order.
Residents in the area are extremely appreciative of the actions taken by the M&CC in correcting a potentially dangerous situation and would like to thank all those responsible for their efforts. However, the stand is still on the parapet and we would like the M&CC to complete the job.
In closing, I would like to suggest the following solutions.
Let this “hard working” young man set up his fancy structure in front of where he lives. Wouldn’t that be much closer to home and easier for him?
Let all those persons who spoke to your reporter who thought it was a grave injustice by the M&CC including that kind PNC Councillor who happened to be passing at the time and who considered it a very unfortunate situation, offer him a place on their parapets or around their area so that he can continue with his business.
(Name and address provided)
The report concerned only the “ruckus” created by the nature of the vendor’s removal, and did not touch at all on the issue of whether or not it was justified. The two main concerns of those who spoke to Stabroek News were that the officers attempted to load the glass cases containing food into a tractor which normally hauls garbage, and that the members of the City Constabulary were carrying guns. There were also comments about the vendor being given no warning, and that another vendor was left undisturbed.