Editorial

We better learn from the farce at Palisadoes

Thursday, January 04, 2018

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The ill-fated Sandz party on the Palisadoes strip leading to the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) on Monday, has brutally exposed the depth of the indiscipline and lawlessness that are this nation's Achilles heel.

Worse, the chaos that prevented airline passengers from catching their flight, or from leaving the airport in a timely manner, demonstrates our inability to plan for eventualities, except maybe for when a major visitor, such as a United States president or a British queen, is coming.

Of course, it is always easier to play 'ducking the blame' game while the real culprits of mayhem hunker down to ride out the nine-day wonder, until the next disaster. We predict that no one will be held accountable or be punished for the farce at Palisadoes.

National Security Minister Robert Montague inelegantly distanced himself from the police who have egg all over their face. Mr Peter Knight, the chief executive officer of the National Environment and Planning Agency has joined Miss Olivia “Babsy” Grange, the culture minister who now has responsibility for declaring zones of entertainment, in the disclaimer that the area on the Palisadoes Road in Kingston, where the Sandz party was held Monday, was not approved as an entertainment zone.

They insist that approval was given for an entertainment zone to be established at Fort Rocky, several kilometres away from where the party was being held at the Gun Boat Beach, contradicting news reports that the entire strip was named a zone.

Mr Mike Henry, the transport minister, wants to know who at the NMIA discussed parking arrangements with the promoters of the party after he had previously made it clear that the Palisadoes should not be blocked.

Mr Andrew Ellis, director of Supreme Team Limited — organisers of Sandz – blamed “non-cooperation of the patrons with the parking arrangements” as the cause of the mayhem.

Mayor of Kingston and St Andrew Delroy Williams who, along with the police, granted permission for the event to be staged, said he regretted the incident.

The soured milk has been spilt, so no use crying over that now. It is best if we try to learn from the incident to prevent a recurrence. This is the best way of doing the damage control that must follow to assure the world that we are not running a fry fish shop for a country.

We suggest that the Government revisits the designation of the entire Palisadoes strip as a zone of entertainment. Let us be thankful that worse did not happen, like a major emergency requiring free passage from the airport.

The agencies giving approval for major events must apply only the most stringent standards, especially where parking is concerned.

The day before the Sandz incident there was massive parking headache at the FunFest held at Hope Gardens in Kingston. Vehicles were parked on expensively manicured grass lawns and it was clear the security officers tasked with keeping order in rainy conditions were way out of their depth trying to control motorists who were paying them no mind.

Forward planning, which is not asking too much of any organiser, must factor in eventualities such as larger than usual crowds, parking and sudden rain, three of the issues which seem to be at the heart of the problems affecting many events.

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