Wed | Jun 16, 2021

McKenzie says no double standard in approval of Sigma Run

Published:Monday | February 22, 2021 | 4:30 PM
McKenzie said an application for the Sigma Run was made in keeping with provisions for sporting events and approval was given after a full range of stringent protocols, for which the company was required to manage, were considered.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, is defending the government’s decision to grant approval for the staging of Sigma Run 2021 and is dismissing claims of a double standard.

The 2021 Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run was held primarily virtually but had an invitation-only race held in New Kingston yesterday, which included less than 100 participants.

In a statement today, McKenzie said an application for the Sigma Run was made in keeping with provisions for sporting events and approval was given after a full range of stringent protocols, for which the company was required to manage, were considered.

After images and videos emerged from the run yesterday, social media users lambasted the Government for playing favourites.

Many users stated that they were disappointed in the physical aspect of the run, especially since entertainment events have been shelved for months due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"The Ministry recognises the concerns of Jamaicans and the general public and would like to give the assurance that the event was monitored and found to be compliant with the approved protocols. We are reaffirming to Jamaica that the consideration to grant the approval was based on compliance with the established protocols only and is the first of a number of applications that was considered," McKenzie said.

He added that the Government is keenly aware of the general desire for a return to normal life and noted that even-handedness is being applied to all applications for sporting events.

"Consistent with this approach, we are still trying to manage the pandemic, and as such applications for sporting events have to be assessed case by case. The necessary protocols are required to be designed to govern every event that is approved."

According to the ministry, presently, some submissions for events made by the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association have been approved, while an application from the Jamaica Karting Association is now being reviewed.

"As the Minister responsible for the management of the Disaster Risk Management Act, I want to assure the public that every effort is being made to ensure that normal societal life can return, while ensuring that COVID-19 is effectively managed. I, therefore, ask our people to observe all the health and safety protocols, as this will fast forward our recovery from this pandemic,” McKenzie emphasised.

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