• ‘Operation Restore Paradise’ extended for another 90 days
Barrington Flemming – Staff Reporter
The perennial ‘cat and mouse’ game between street vendors and the police in Montego Bay is set to continue for a while yet, with a 90-day extension of ‘Operation Restore Paradise’.
The week-long initiative, which was jointly crafted by the St. James Municipal Corporation and the Police to restore law and order to the city of Montego Bay, was extended after reaping relative success in its first seven days.
In recapping the success of the multi-agency initiative, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis, said during the week, there were 60 arrests with 27 persons charged for various offences and one stolen motor vehicle recovered.
Additionally, the Island Traffic Authority removed 26 registration plates from PPV, commercial and private vehicles and from 1,500 motor vehicles searched, 1,000 persons prosecuted and tints removed from 49 PPV vehicles.
Chief Public Health Inspector for the parish of St. James, Lennox Wallace, said 16 of 75 food establishments which were inspected were closed for breaching public health standards.
FOOD THROWN OUT
Mr. Wallace said to further safeguard consumers’ health, over $400,000 worth of food that was being offered to the public under unsatisfactory conditions was seized and disposed off.
He also indicated that 29 notices were served on itinerant street vendors for various public health breaches and 26 vendors’ stalls were demolished and removed.
“We know that Montego Bay is a city that does not sleep (and) throughout the rest of the operation we intend to not only have visits during the day as there are establishments and vendors who operate only at nights, covering all of Barnett Street from ‘Clock’ down to the entrance of the Transport Centre, Strand Street, the intersection of St James and Union streets and Jimmy Cliff Boulevard.
Meanwhile, JPS Director for Distribution South West, Leroy Reid, disclosed that “during the period we participated, there were approximately 400 ‘throw-ups’ or line taps that were removed; we conducted approximately 50 audits and we disconnected 70 shops within the Shoe Market for the illegal abstraction of electricity.”
He said the JPS was encouraged by the extension and will be using the next few days “to learn from our experiences over the last several days and put in place a more robust plan and stronger intervention measures to help us restore paradise in Montego Bay.”
The week-long joint operation also saw 45 pounds of ganja valued at $500,000 being seized and 1.5 million banned plastic (lada) bags seized.