The JLP strongly condemns the lack of compassion demonstrated by the agents of the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation

Release Date: 
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 14:15

The JLP strongly condemns the lack of compassion demonstrated by the agents of the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation.

That's how General Secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party, (JLP), Dr Horace Chang, is describing the shameful and inconsiderate move by the PNP-led St Catherine Municipal Corporation whose representatives coordinated an operation this week and destroyed the handcarts, stalls and produce of scores of vendors in Linstead in the parish.

Dr. Chang underscored that in principle, the Municipal Police are agents of the Municipal cooperation and, as such, they are required to follow the instructions of the leadership of the Municipal Corporation.  The JLP General Secretary is condemning the thoughtless and unkind manner in which the Municipal Police treated the small business operators in Linstead recently. 

According to Dr. Chang, the actions its agents in demolishing the property of the hard working vendors,again reinforces the scant regard of the PNP-led St. Catherine Municipal Corporation for poor and hardworking Jamaicans. The JLP General Secretary says the response of Corporation Chairman, Mayor and PNP Councillor, Norman Scott to merely request a report on the uncompassionate act is unacceptable.

For Dr. Chang, an apology from the Corporation Chairman, and the immediate activation of a compensation plan by the Corporation for the victims, is the minimum expected under these circumstances. 

The JLP General Secretary was reacting to a video that was recorded at the Linstead Market which showed St. Catherine Municipal officers destroying hand-carts and stalls belonging to vendors with goods being damaged and destroyed in the process. 

Dr. Chang further commented - “particularly during the Covid19 pandemic we should really be trying our best to help keep everyone’s income steady, especially those in the agricultural sector. Through its C.A.R.E. Program, the government is providing great support for these vendors. This uncaring display of force by the PNP-led Municipal Corporation is unacceptable, and very disappointing”

The General Secretary went on to note that far too long elements of this Municipal Council have treated the vendors and hand-cart operators in a vile and heavy-handed manner. In this vein, he went on to recall the burdensome tax package that was implemented in 2013, by then PNP Vice-President and Mayor of Kingston.  The recent destruction of handcarts, stalls, and goods signals the abject disregard of this PNP-led Parish Council for the livelihoods of some of our most hardworking citizens. 

The JLP General Secretary noted that the Local Governance Act does not make provision for the destruction of stalls and handcarts. This cowardly destruction of livelihoods by the agents of the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation raises questions about the Mayor’s leadership and his ability, or unwillingness, to take the necessary action to prevent a repeat of this kind of infringement of our people’s rights.   

In addition to the call for an apology and compensation for the affected business operators, the JLP General Secretary recommended that an investigation into theincident be carried out by the Ministry of Local Government and the Association of Local Government Authorities of Jamaica. He is also calling for the urgentretraining of the officers of the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation.

Dr. Chang is demanding that the Council Chairman and Mayor of Spanish Town act responsibly and end this uncaring and distasteful practice against our hardworking Jamaicans.

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