MP for St. Augustine, Khadijah Ameen has responded to accusations from Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.
In response to a statement by Griffith yesterday, Ameen is assuring the public that at no time did she invite members of the public to gather, protest or congregate at Caroni Roundabout where vendors were being unfairly targeted and removed. She indicated that a What’s app message which read:
“Breaking News: Police currently moving crab vendors from Caroni Roundabout in apparent move of victimization, despite following Public Health Regulations. MP for St Augustine Khadijah Ameen is inviting you to come to Caroni Roundabout this morning where vendors are being targeted and removed for selling fruits, vegetables, fish and crab. MP Ameen is on site” was sent to individuals in the media to invite them to cover the event, not to members of the public to congregate in protest.
Ameen gave the assurance to Commissioner of Police, that at no time during this exercise, was any call made by her for persons to gather in support or to protest. She also expressed her appreciation to the Commissioner for his public commitment to communicate with the Municipal Police about Roadside vending in a release by the Corporate Communications Unit of TTPS.
She indicated that at this time, citizens are facing tough times economically and ‘humanitarianism is more powerful than any law.’
She added “Many of these families are not begging for a handout but instead they are going out to make an honest living through the sale of fresh produce, crab and fish.”
Ameen stated that sometime last month this issue came up where vendors were being threatened to be removed. However, through the intervention of Councillor for the area Samuel Sankar, Councillor Richard Rampersad and Councillor Seema Ramsaran, the Tunapuna Piarco Regional Corporation’s Chairman gave the assurance that vendors at Caroni can continue to sell until a suitable location is found for them.
She gave the assurance from the vendors that they will comply with the law and appealed to the police to use discretion in carrying out their duties.
Additionally, she called on Trinidad and Tobago to support local farmers and vendors in order to boost the local economy and local food production.
MP Ameen in closing, indicated that she is open to discussion with TTPS, Tunapuna Corporation and any other Authority to resolve the situation at hand.