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Magistrate: You can’t be ‘wrong and strong’
A San Fernando magistrate yesterday scolded three vendors for illegally selling and obstructing the pathway along High Street, San Fernando. The three—Pamela Rambaran, 38, a clothes vendor, Dereck Hinds, 40, a ladies’ shoes vendor and Hemraj Mahabir, a music vendor, appeared individually but each pleaded guilty, before Fourth Court magistrate Alicia Chankar. They were reprimanded and discharged, but not without a severe tongue-lashing.
The trio, arrested on Tuesday, had their goods seized. Chankar told Rambaran who had previous convictions for similar offences that there was a proper procedure to vend. “Nobody is against you for vending or assisting yourself, but you have to do it the proper way,” Chankar said. Rambaran, however, said “plenty ah we outside there don’t know (the procedure).”
Indicating that the mayor had declared zero tolerance on street vending, Chankar said by illegally pitching stalls they were causing people to step out on to the roadway and they risk being knocked down. Chankar told Rambaran that if they used the designated vending area, customers would find them. She said vendors had to collectively understand that the mayor and council members were not against them, but they had to act in an orderly manner.
She advised them to go to the corporation and regulate their business. The magistrate said: “You all think you all are going to bully people to accept what you are doing. It is the wrong thing. It is not about kicking up a fuss and ra, ra, ra. We can’t condone the wrong thing. “You can’t collectively do the wrong thing and think that the wrong thing would be accepted.” Hinds, who was selling sandals and slippers, complained that “every mayor does give we ah bligh for Christmas and this year we get nothing.” The magistrate told him that they did not get a chance because they were blatantly breaking the law.
Advising him to apply for a licence, Chankar questioned why he did not vend at Mucurapo Street. The third vendor, Mahabir, was selling music Compact Discs (CDs) without a licence and obstructing the pathway.
Chankar said: “Our local artistes are making an honest living using their gifts, their ability to sing and you are infringing on Cott and copyright.” Describing his actions as boldface, she said: “It is embarrassment and a shame for us as a nation to see our own doing that to our own, it is so bad it is so wrong.” She ordered that the shoes and clothes be returned, but that the CDs be destroyed.
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