…Chief Constable admits ranks abusing authority Accusations have been made by the Market Vendors Union of vendors in Georgetown experiencing harassment from City Constables, but M&CC Chief Constable Andrew Foo recently denied that vendors are being harassed.Vendors’ Union president Eon Andrews has said he is concerned about the issue, since it happens to be an ongoing one. He has even alleged that City Constables have been extorting money from vendors.Chief Constable Andrew Foo“A lot of these constables go and shake down the vendors, always seeking to get a raise or to probably get a black bag from these people. They will be collecting these things from a vendor or two, and from the time that vendor stop (giving them anything), they arrest (that vendor),” he told this publication on Saturday.Lack of securityAndrews has also voiced concern that there is inadequate security in the market area, although constables are being paid to do their jobs.“We are concerned that you (City Constables) spend time harassing a set of persons who are trying to get a living, who are trying their best to confirm to the requirements of the City; and then the Constabulary in particular, right in front of them, there are those youngsters who hang around right in front of the parks, robbing people. It means then that people are now afraid to go in those areas and buy,” he complained.When contacted, Foo told Guyana Times he is unaware that vendors are being harassed by City Constables.He noted that it is the constables’ duty to ensure order is maintained in the City. “The Constabulary has a duty to perform in terms of the enforcement of laws. You mentioned some vendors who are making claims of harassment by constables. I, as we speak, have not been, in terms of formally or officially, notified of these claims, and I am saying this based on the fact that the Constabulary is a Policing body,” the Chief Constable explained.He went on to say that the Constabulary has provisions in place for persons who have claims of harassment, which can lead to necessary action being taken against constables.“We will conduct our investigations, which can lead to departmental, in terms of charges, or we can have those ranks placed before the court. Likewise, those persons can, depending on the nature of the matter, they can also make reports to the Police,” Foo said.The Chief Constable went on to note that, in keeping with the law, vending activities should not be done on the streets; and this would most times result in breaches of the law.Abusing authorityFoo admitted that he is aware of the fact that persons within the Constabulary have been abusing their authority, and he is urging vendors to make official reports at the City Constabulary, so that necessary action can be taken.Over the years, vendors have allegedly been facing harassment by City Constables attached to the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).In 2016, several vendors took to the streets in the form of a peaceful protest, as they sought to put an end to Council’s harassment.“I think to myself (that) Mr Royston King (Town Clerk) is overstepping his marks. To me, he is behaving as if he was not a poor person. Why is it that you are only attacking the vendors? There are no other working class persons that you can attack? Maybe because he believe that we are sitting at the road corner selling? We are doing a legitimate job, he should allow us to sell our time,” one vendor told Guyana Times.She said the complaints from City Hall are that vendors sometimes leave the area untidy. While that is true to some extent, she claims that council is receiving fees from vendors, and they must know who vends where. “They must be able to tax them, but Peter mustn’t pay for Paul, and Paul pay for all. He is punishing poor people,” she said.
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