Across every municipality, you can regularly see street vendors lined up along popular areas. They don’t just show up and sell food, they need to have food handler’s license and also a peddler’s license. The peddler’s license is issued by the City or Town council. The street vendors in Belie City, the most densely populated area, are at odds with the police department. Though the peddler’s license does not have a time limit on hours of operation, the police department has clamped down on the hours at night that they can do business. The Mayor of Belize City Bernard Wagner has come forward to say that the directive to limit the vendors is a sole decision of the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams. We reached out to Williams but he was unavailable to speak on the issue, but today we spoke to Deputy Commissioner of Police Edward Broaster, indicated that the strategy to close down vendors by 2 a.m. does help to curb crime.
Edward Broaster – Deputy ComPol, Ops & Crime: “That assists the crime-fighting strategy because it attracts fewer people in the streets. If we have no one in the streets that means there are no target for criminals, no target to be robbed, no target to be shot, not target to be assaulted and what have you.”
Jose Sanchez: “So if the people they say well when they leave the club they need to eat, they need to buy their rice and beans or their hotdogs. What do you say to that element of society who do tend to be social and these vendors do tend to earn money so early in the morning?”
Edward Broaster – Deputy ComPol, Ops & Crime: Well I think the Commissioner of Police took that into consideration and once the patrons know the close of time they will ensure that they will get their rice and beans before closing hours. I know that there are some vendors who complain that they have to make a living and so on. The Commissioner of Police in his wisdom told them no problem and gave them until 2 am.”
Jose Sanchez: “So there should be no need in your opinion for them to stay out much later. In terms of the crime, have you seen a lot of activity involving vendors whether it is hot dog or rice and beans vendors on the different street corners for example?”
Edward Broaster – Deputy ComPol, Ops & Crime: “After the club you have those who are high on alcohol, some on drugs and what have you. When you have individuals gathering at a vending spot that will then lead to confrontational conflicts which may or may not lead to fatal incidents. If they want to get their food they know the closing time, they will have to get their food before the closing time, I do not see anything wrong with that. If we want a better society we really have to contribute in terms of ensuring that we play a role in diminishing the number of incidents in our society.”