We just want to ply our trade – vendors
Jomo “Top Dog” Brudy, one of the approximately 20 vendors asked to stop vending under the ACE gallery in Kingstown and a certain section of Middle Street says he never created problems while plying his trade.
He however thinks that certain police officers are judging him from his past and targeted him in the move that sees him prohibited from vending on both Melville Street and Middle Street (in the vicinity of C Prescott & Sons Limited).
Commissioner of Police Colin John said on Monday that vendors were removed because of complaints from pedestrians and business people.
People spoke about weed smoking, cursing, drinking, loud music and loitering. Violence is also known to have erupted at times and on two occasions, there were shootings that ended in death.
Brudy however said he does not attract a crowd to his stall.
“I does be under ACE. I does sell hot dog, customers does come and buy; sit down and eat, but before I come by ACE I meet people dey liming, smoking doing what them doing everyday, so I ain’t feel is me really make people get move,” Brudy said.
He stated that he has been vending under ACE for close to six years and all he is concerned about is earning a living to take care of his three daughters.
Brudy said that last week Thursday, he went home early and when he returned on Friday, he met his hotdog cart alone. He said his benches had been removed.
He said he and some other vendors were conversing and there were some snack plates being sold when a police officer who he knew approached the group and placed both Brudy and the snack plates in the jeep.
“When we reach up in the station, he telling me shut up and I say I have a right to talk and he start to hit me like if I is his son or something,” said Brudy.
He added that he will not be officially reporting the alleged beating as he thinks that he will not get any justice and all he wants to do is ply his trade.
“Hotdog is my main hustle so I looking for another spot differently to make my living. I don’t care what the government want to do because I have my children to mind.
“Me is me and my hustle is my hustle. People out of work right now with nowhere to go. People just home living off crumbs,” Brudy commented.
He added also that the violent incidents that took place in the past have nothing to do with the vendors.
“Them talking about the violence in the town, but people making them violence home in them village and come under ACE and sit down and making it bad for other people,” Brudy commented.
Another vendor, Kingstown resident Norlene Phillips said she has been under ACE for three years selling local juice and clothing and now she has nowhere to make her living.
“They throw way me table, they mash them up and they didn’t even notify me. I don’t even know why,” she told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday.
Phillips said that vending is her only source of income and she feels sad because she has children to care for and educate and bills to pay.
“It not right, at least they should have notify us and let us move our stuff instead of just mashing it up like that. They didn’t notify us and that is unprofessional,” the career vendor said.
She said that she cannot challenge the decision alone and she needs other vendors to band together to fight for their rights.
Phillips questioned the timing of the action.
“…Christmas season coming up and people looking for dey living. That is where most of the money does be spending,” Phillips commented.