by Emmanuel Joseph
Police have so far arrested and charged one person, as officers “swept through” the streets of the country’s main shopping centre on day one of Operation Recapture Bridgetown.
The officer heading the “clean up” exercise is pledging to regularise the City and “make the area sterile again”.
Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police in charge of Operations, Anderson Bowen, told Barbados TODAY the campaign was sparked by numerous public complaints and concerns related to lawlessness and illegal activities taking place in Bridgetown.
“This morning we arrested a person who was selling illegally. He was in possession of sugar cane, and also other items, namely mangoes without obviously, proper documentation,” Bowen disclosed.
“That man has been charged for selling without a permit on Swan Street. He is charged for having produce without a certificate of purchase; also for placing articles, namely barrels and so forth, and bags on the highway,” the senior police officer said.
“We hope to get Bridgetown regularised as it should be. We have had a lot of proper reaction, we’ve had a lot of cooperation, and people are responding to our initiative.”
The former detective told this newspaper the operation would remain in place for sometime and would be extended to the outskirts of the City as well.
“It will be sustained for a while… It would be extended to other areas of deviance that are noted,” Bowen pointed out.
“Our concern is the amount of unpleasant activity that is happening in Bridgetown. It relates to numerous offenders — from illegal vendors, who operate indiscriminately.
“There are persons also who are involved in illegal dumping; there are also limers who are harassing persons, especially on weekends. In short, people have blocked a lot of the vital pathways of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in Bridgetown.
“Swan Street has been taken over actually, by a host of illegal vendors who block the main arteries of certain businesses. They have also been engaged in illegal placement of items on the highway. For example, we find like crates, left over on evenings lying about the road; buckets and other trollies and so forth.”
The police administrator said these items create an eyesore to the public, “and a lot of this dumping of fruit and so forth is unregulated and has caused a stench to be in town, both by day and by night”.
“Perons have been behaving rather indifferently, in that people who have been permitted to sell, have been extending their permit to three other persons. This lady who had her entire family selling in one place. Her daughter and another relative have been selling from three different locations with one permit. It shouldn’t be so,” Bowen warned.
He said that in many cases, one person had a permit and that person increased the allotted vending space, thereby taking up an entire corner.
“It is wrong. It causes congestion and is improper,” asserted the lawman. “We heard of a matter where someone has set up selling on Marhill Street by a Barbados Light & Power voltage system, which again is a dangerous activity. If persons continue to do this, it’s going to have a very bad ending as it relates to the beauty of Bridgetown.”
Police are also worried about people on Swan Street buying alcohol from certain shops in the area of Tudor Street, liming on the pavement and leaving bottles on the ground.
“This is a concern again to people who are law-abiding,” the senior police official asserted. firstname.lastname@example.org