Last week Friday, June 29, the police carried out operations in the May Pen Market and found several illegal connections to water and JPS lines.
There were some 20 illegal connections to the National Water Commission lines and an even greater number on the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) power systems.
The police also found tarpaulin attached to makeshift stalls in such a way that it hindered access to police and other personnel. According to the police, the operators of the stalls ran away and there were no arrests.
It has become clearer that the May Pen Market and Bus Park are being operated as a law unto themselves. The market and bus park have been in the news lately with two different occasions of brazen, daylight shootings.
It is pity it had to come to this again for the authorities to be trying to get some order and control back in the market which has, for a long time, been a haven of criminal activity and a hideout for criminal types. Now, even in the case of the recent shootings, in which several people were wounded, police say gang activity was partly to blame.
But how have the May Pen Market and bus park descended to this? Is not the Clarendon Municipal Corporation (CMC), located just a few steps away, supposed to regulate the market activities and be a major player in the bus park? Wouldn’t their market fee collectors and the municipal police see the various irregular connections and also realize that unauthorized “shanties” — as the head of the Clarendon police called them — are going up in the market?
Senior Superintendent Vendolyn Cameron Powell says a year ago there was another crackdown and illegal connections to utilities were taken down. However, other connections to steal light and water have been put back on since.
We take it that now the utility companies on their own behalf and the CMC will do the kind of regular monitoring to keep criminality at bay and make dramatic raids and operations unnecessary. Meantime, the police should, as their counterparts in St Ann have done, break up the disorder in the market and on the sidewalks of May Pen, knowing that’s a breeding ground for criminals and criminality.
By Franklin McKnight