Sunday 17 November, 2019

Montague demands report on Palisadoes gridlock

National Security Minister Robert Montague (right) with Police Commissioner George Quallo.

National Security Minister Robert Montague (right) with Police Commissioner George Quallo.

Stung by widespread criticism on social media and with the police obviously not getting a handle on the situation, National Security Minister, Robert Montague, has demanded that Police Commissioner George Quallo provide him with a report on the New Year’s Day gridlock on the Palisadoes Road.

The Minister is anticipating that someone will be held accountable for the incident that not only inconvenienced many, but which has been a source of embarrassment for the country.

The gridlock that lasted for several hours as party goers blocked the road to ring in the New Year, prevented passengers, some of them foreigners, from boarding flights into or out of Kingston. This, as access to the Norman Manley International Airport was blocked. Even flight crews missed their flights.

Pictures circulating on social media of the traffic pile-up along the Palisadoes strip on New Year's Day.

There have been a flood of criticism on social media including from persons questioning what would have happened had there been a disaster at the airport and security and emergency responders needed to get there. They have also questioned why a permit was granted for a party of that magnitude on the fragile Palisadoes strip.

In demanding that he be handed a report on the incident by noon, Montague, in a statement from his Ministry acknowledged that “the repercussions are yet to be tabulated.” He noted that flights were delayed and that passengers missed their flights.

He has asked Commissioner Quallo to outline the conditions surrounding the issuing of the permit (for the so-called ‘Sandz’ party); the policing plan that was put in place for the event, and the steps that will be taken to hold someone accountable.

In the meantime, Minister Montague is apologising for the inconvenience suffered, and says the report will be made public.

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