Sunday 18 November, 2018

Montague disappointed with 'substandard Palisadoes report' from Quallo

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

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

National Security Minister Robert Montague says he is disappointed with the report from Police Commissioner George Quallo on the circumstances surrounding activities which led to the traffic pileup along the Palisadoes Road on New Year's Day.

In a news release, Montague said the report "did not meet the standards which the Jamaican public has come to expect from Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF)."

He said the report is inadequate as it has not addressed the questions he raised; it did not outline the conditions of approval for the New Year’s party called ‘Sandz’, which led to the gridlock, did not clearly speak to a policing plan that was put in place for the event. 

Minister Montague said as Minister he cannot accept the report as it is not reflective of the hard work of the men and women who protect Jamaica daily.

Screenshot of video circulating on social media shows a man carrying luggage towards the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston amid a traffic pile-up along the Palisadoes strip on New Year's Day.

He said it is on their behalf that he had no choice but to reject it.

Monday night’s debacle saw motorists stuck in traffic for hours and unable to access the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston.

Montague said, based on reports from the public, the police personnel on the ground displayed the utmost professionalism and courtesy, in the face of the hostile behaviour from members of the public.  Noting that there needs to be a fulsome account to the public, Minister Montague said the police personnel at the location cannot be held solely responsible for the inadequate planning that would have gone into preparations for the event.

Minister Montague said he expects the Police High Command to demonstrate the level of accountability that is required in the circumstances.

The National Security Minister said he has granted the Police Commissioner’s request for more time to prepare a comprehensive report which will be submitted on Friday, January 5, 2018.

Montague noted that the taxpayers of Jamaica have invested heavily in the JCF.  He pointed out that billions of dollars have been spent over the last five years, and as the police force makes the transition to a police service, it is expected that the public will continue to see returns on their investment.             

In reminding the Police Commissioner that under Section 3 of the Constabulary Force Act, he has sole operational command and superintendence of the Force, Minister Montague says someone must be held accountable.