Wed | Jun 20, 2018

Montague demands police explanation of 'embarrassing' airport road gridlock

Published:Tuesday | January 2, 2018 | 11:35 AM
This screen grab of a video posted on social media shows a man walking through traffic along the Palisadoes strip towards the airport with a suitcase on his head.

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

National Security Minister Robert Montague is demanding that the Police Commissioner explain the breakdown that resulted in a major traffic congestion on the sole route to the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston yesterday.

The Palisadoes strip was blocked for several hours as a result of a New Year's Day party called Sandz for which a permit was granted by the police.

Numerous people heading to the airport missed their flights and many at the airport awaiting pick up were stuck there because of the gridlock.

READ: Unruly motorists reign in gridlock on airport road, passengers miss flights

The Jamaican government is reportedly bracing for "significant" fallout from a number of international airlines.

Montague told The Gleaner this morning that he has requested a report from Police Commissioner George Quallo by 5 o'clock this afternoon.

"Who gave permission (for the party)? Why? Where was the policing plan? Where were the police? What if there was a disaster at the airport?
What is the Commissioner doing (about the incident)?" Montague asked.

He noted that in approving the permit for the party, the police should have drafted a plan that would cover traffic flow.

"Where was the traffic plan? What consideration went into it?" he questioned.

"What if there was an emergency at the airport or in Port Royal and emergency vehicles had to get to either location?" asked Montague.

The Gleaner understands that a flight crew for British Airways got to the airport three hours after the aircraft was scheduled to depart.

"This has significant international implications, not only financially, but in terms of scheduling," one government insider said.

Quallo has called the incident a "major embarrassment" saying it further sullies the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

He also says he has ordered a probe into the matter.

- Romario Scott contributed to this story

We want to hear from you! Email us at editor@gleanerjm.com or onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com