Quallo says sorry for Palisadoes gridlock, orders probe
Police Commissioner, George Quallo
Police Commissioner George Quallo has apologised to members of the public who were inconvenienced due to a massive pile-up of traffic along the Palisadoes Road on New Year's Day.
The gridlock, which lasted for several hours as party goers blocked the road to ring in the New Year, prevented airline passengers from boarding flights into or out of Kingston. This, as access to the Norman Manley International Airport was blocked.
A flood of criticisms has followed the incident, including from persons questioning the ability of the security forces to keep high levels of public disorder under control, and what would have happened had there been a disaster at the airport 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.
National Security Minister Robert Montague has also demanded a report on the matter from the police commissioner.
Quallo took to social media on Tuesday morning to address the issue.
“Good morning I have read your many concerns and the comments. The situation is a most unfortunate one as the pile up of traffic has caused some level of embarrassment to the management of the organization and our sworn responsibilities,” said Quallo via his official Twitter page.
“We regret the inconvenience caused by this event. A probe has been ordered to determine what went wrong operationally and the remedial steps to be adopted. Again a mere apology will never suffice and we understand quite rightly how the inconvinience has sullied the image of the organization,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, a high ranking member of the police Traffic Division claimed the situation was one that could not have been avoided.
“No amount of policing could not have stopped what took place along the Palisadoes,” a deputy superintendent of traffic told Loop News.
“What happened was that an unprecedented number of motorists gathered along the Palisades strip to observe the fireworks organised at the Kingston waterfront, on one occasion, and then, on another occasion, they were gathered to participate in another entertainment event,” said the DSP.
He largely placed the blame on indiscipline motorists.
“We had situations where motorists were parked on both sides of the road,” he said.
From Sunday leading into Monday an unprecedented number of motorists converged on the Palisadoes strip, the thoroughfare leading to the Norman Manley International Airport, to usher in the New Years.