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By S.L.

Though this question is worth persistent interrogation, it wasn’t my intention to belabour it. This is in reference to this piece carried here recently.

Last week, among other points, I wrote: “We can’t on one hand decry the police when we believe certain citizens, like protesters, are being mistreated; yet on the other hand remain silent at what happens to other regulars like vendors. We must always be guided by principle…”

Not even one week after that publication, and here we are. Perhaps, it’s a point proven. Last Thursday, we saw the actions of the police, regarding protesters. That was followed by an outpouring of disbelief and disgust from the general public, both in and out of St. Vincent. From morning radio to late night social media commentary, we heard and read the reaction. It appears as though that piece of legislation being used in this case is written in tongues and the police lack the holy ghost powers to properly understand and interpret it.

How else can this be explained as to why they seemingly keep getting this wrong? Of course, it could also be spite, or, if you are into conspiracies, it could be that they also wanted to help spread the message of the protest; because now everyone knows that there was a protest and what it was about. Perhaps this is their way of participating, without making it look obvious.

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In any case, the very next day after this incident with the protest, we saw footage of the police in Kingstown going at it with vendors again; confiscating their goods and other property in what then senator, “Rasum” Shallow in 2001, referred to as a big animal truck.

We ask again, on behalf of the vendors: what is the legislation that is guiding the police in their action with vendors? What legal authority do they have to be doing this to folks, standing on a public sidewalk in Kingstown, selling items? What is the penalty for breaking this law? Has anyone ever been charged or cited for illegal vending in a public place? The duty of the police is not to enforce anyone’s feelings or policy. They are called LAW enforcement officers for a reason. Town board can have all the policies it wants. It is not the duty of the police to enforce any policy of the Town Board. Policy is not law.

Many have had a cockeyed view to the treatment of vendors, citing their desire to see Kingstown clean. While it is totally fine to want to see a clean and organised Kingstown, we lose credibility when we do not stand on principle regardless of the circumstances. We can’t on one hand decry the police when we believe certain citizens, like protesters, are being mistreated; yet on the other hand remain silent at what happens to other regulars like vendors. We must always be guided by principle.

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