Sun | Jul 15, 2018

Sigma Run/Walk a nightmare!

Published:Tuesday | February 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I write about the dislocation of legitimate travellers Sunday on the occasion of the Sagicor Sigma Run/Walk event. I left home in Havendale at 6:54 a.m. to attend church in Half-Way Tree, at 7:30 a.m.

Anticipating roadblocks, I used Upper Waterloo Road, hoping to be allowed to approach Half-Way Tree via Hope Road at the clock tower. Upon arrival at the West Kings House intersection, at 7 a.m., barriers were already erected and I was forced to go left. So, I turned on to Kingsway.

Upon arrival at the intersection just in front of Andrews Memorial Hospital, I was again ordered to go left, as barriers were erected preventing traffic from going down Hope Road towards Half-Way Tree. So I obeyed, and used Ardenne Road to get to Trafalgar Road, where I was again directed to go left, all this time going farther and farther away from my destination!

Eventually, at 7:18 a.m., I found myself on St Lucia Avenue in New Kingston and observed, to my surprise, that many of the participants in the event were just parking and exiting their cars and walking to the assembly point. The race had not yet commenced, yet Half-Way Tree and surrounding areas were already on lockdown!

Eventually, I got to the intersection of Belmont and Oxford roads, where an uncouth official, dressed in black trousers and white shirt, rudely advised me that if I did not wish to go left as he ordered, I could simply stay at the intersection, because he was following the instructions given to him by the organisers.

So, to get to church in Half-Way Tree, I drove to Cross Roads and drove up Half-Way Tree Road, arriving at church just before starting time at 7:30 a.m.

It is not that I do not support the efforts of corporate Jamaica to host these events so that they can make valuable contributions to society. I am not saying that road races should not be held. What I am saying is that due regard must be shown for the rights of citizens who choose not to participate in the event, and who need to go about their legitimate business without hassle, unnecessary delays, or the rudeness of some of those encountered at the barriers.

The problem with Jamaica is that some of us feel that because we are doing 'good', it is OK to inconvenience others.

The mayhem in Half-Way Tree on Sunday is just another example of how self-centred and callous we have become in pursuit of our own interests.