City sweep

Police clear streets of illegal vending and displays

A police operation to clear the City streets of illegal vending and to remove displays from the sidewalks has left some traders crying foul and looking to the heavens for support.

Vendors engaging in a heated discussion with police.
Vendors engaging in a heated discussion with police.
Police patrolling Swan Street yesterday.
Police patrolling Swan Street yesterday.

Vendors operating in Swan Street and High Street were taken by surprise this afternoon when over a dozen police officers of various ranks appeared and demanded to see

their permits. Those who were unable produce up-to-date

documents were made to pack up and leave, while others quickly pulled out theirs from their pockets, bags, from underneath trays or wherever they hid them for safekeeping.

It was a particularly difficult afternoon for one young cassava vendor who left, then returned with a permit bearing a name which he claimed was his. However, the police rejected it because he was unable to provide his national identification card.

“How do I know this permit is yours? That could belong to anyone,” an officer informed the cassava vendor who operated from High Street.

While the uniformed officers patrolled the streets to ensure they remained clear, some storeowners complained that they were not allowed to display their clothing on mannequins that had the slightest contact with the sidewalks.

No tables placed in front stores showcasing merchandise were allowed if the owners did not have authorization to do so. The chairs, buckets and dishes also had to be taken inside.

The vendors said they believed the police operation was timed to coincide with the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Jack Farrell, owner of Jack’s Place located in Swan Street, said throughout the year he had displayed his goods outside to encourage people to enter his store.

“All year round this mannequin was outside here and it is not obstructing anybody. So

I don’t see why now the Government had to send out all these police to move the mannequin. How do they want these business people to pay taxes?” he asked.

Farrell argued that the Christmas season was the best time for stores in the City to make a profit, and contended that the economy could not generate growth if Government placed “blockages” in the way.

“I think that something got to be done. We business people were out here from since January, February and March, the hard times when we were not making any money. As soon as Christmas come the police out here harassing people and that ain’t right,” Farrell said.

Unreasonable, unjust, unfair and wickedness was Leroy Brathwaite’s reaction to being forced to remove his table of shoes from the sidewalk and back up a flight of stairs.

The owner of Upper Room accused the police of not allowing “small black business people” to establish themselves among the “hierarchies in Swan Street”.

“For the whole year we had our mannequins outside. This is Christmas time when it is most likely we are going to make some money. Then now, all of a sudden, I with a one-entrance store upstairs, ain’t got no show window to display nothing, I just bring two mannequins to display my things and look what going on here,” Brathwaite protested.

Brathwaite suggested that those in authority ought to go back to the drawing board, and use common sense and discretion in their decision-making in relation to the way they treat storeowners.

“We have too much of the wrong people in the right places in this country. We need to get the right people who understand small business. We got to find a way so we can make money. Nobody ain’t going in no store. I got to bring my things to display,” Brathwaite said.

One operator, who asked to be called Alicia, pleaded with the authorities to have mercy on storeowners, some of whom she said had been unable to afford rent for several months.

She said some storeowners made very little money last month and were forced to lay off workers.

“The NIS [National Insurance Scheme] want to know why we coming for green papers. They say why? I say we have to send home and cut down because right now . . . the stores are not making the funds that they used to before,” Alicia said.

“They say we got air conditioning inside the stores but I say the people prefer to shop outside on the streets. Barbados is the only country that don’t got people on the streets. Next year we going to be 50, but right now I feel like we moving backward,” she added in a reference to the country’s 50 anniversary of independence in 2016.

Police Public Relations Officer Acting Assistant Superintendent David Welch said the operation involved checking licences, making sure that sidewalks were clear and that storeowners did not display merchandise on the outside.

15 Responses to City sweep

  1. Wayne Dread
    Wayne Dread November 21, 2015 at 12:58 am

    People worried abouts getting shot, and they putting more people on the hustle, dodds full , the courts back up, what or where are the priorities

  2. Rickie Brown
    Rickie Brown November 21, 2015 at 1:20 am

    so much Crime-makes no sense bothering innocent people trying to make an honest living!! Go after them punks and criminals out there running loose while look how many on the street you should be ashamed!! All them police after one vendor!! INSANE POLICING HERE!!!

  3. Ormond Mayers November 21, 2015 at 2:02 am

    With so much act of lawlessness in the Country, the police should be more occupy with trying to apprehend those elements engage in destructive activity, tarnishing the good name of Barbados, than with vendors seeking to earn an honest living.

    Street vending is nothing new in Barbados and is seen all over the world.

    Leave the vendors alone, and deploy police resources to get the guns and drugs off the Streets, and rid Barbados of the criminal elements.

  4. Hunte Omar
    Hunte Omar November 21, 2015 at 2:13 am

    A total waste of police resources. If the vendors can’t ply thier trade, with government and private sector sending home workers, how are the vendors going make a living?

  5. Bernard Pinder
    Bernard Pinder November 21, 2015 at 2:48 am

    Now wanna just looking to turn people into criminals go after the politicians who thieving tax payers money an saying the country in recession leave the poor people.

  6. Winslow Miller
    Winslow Miller November 21, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Well I’m a tourist and I enjoyed them I don’t see the harm if the police have got time to do that then they should carry a bag as well and pick up all the litter

  7. Trina Lowe
    Trina Lowe November 21, 2015 at 5:10 am


  8. Sweet Puss. November 21, 2015 at 5:20 am

    Y harrase honest working people trying to make a living how does the police expect these people to survive.some of the young men I see on swan street hussling r guys from the ghetto who choose not to b in a life of crime an look for an honest dollar so u leaving these men to get frustrated an go an do crime wow.this government needs to b changed Asap.may God help us all.

  9. Maria Sweetness
    Maria Sweetness November 21, 2015 at 5:25 am

    This government needs to b changed ASAP how do u expect these young men that choose to hussel instead of getting into trouble it.s so sad to see that our leaders want to make the small business miserable when coming up to Christmas the busiest most of the year I just came from new York an Brooklyn has venders outside husseling truing to make a dollar so a country so big allowing it y Barbados want to do something different.

  10. Maria Sweetness
    Maria Sweetness November 21, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Let the police go an look for the guys that has Barbados on the tourism watch list for crime an leave honest hard working people alone.

  11. Tracia November 21, 2015 at 6:21 am

    I just can’t understand this nonsense. Vehicles do not pass through swans street, there is no need for this street to be clear. Stop harassing people who trying to feed their families!! Why we alwayss pulling down we own?!!

  12. dave November 21, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Every year around this time religiously , the Police take this action. Why ?

  13. Andrew Rudder November 24, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Today in Barbados all most every house hold have transportation around the island privately or public, so “Why don’t the small vendors lease a a large lot and operate out of that location, sell their goods and wares without police harassment, big business interference and the like? At least thats cooperative thinking!

  14. Alex 3 November 26, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Swan Street is a unique feature of B town. At times it is conjected and presumably a potential target for pickpockets so presumably this helps keep some control of the chaos but I would hate to see it end.

  15. Observer November 26, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I can’t believe crime in barbados out of control and the authority worried about a stupid ass side walk,and these thugs running the streets committing crime against innocent people, for crying out loud things are hard all these people guilty of is trying to make a honest living leave the damn people alone,go and fight the crime with all those police you have harassing the vendors


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