Sandz promoter sorry for gridlock, blames ‘non-cooperation of patrons’

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The promoters of the party at the center of the controversy over the massive pile-up of traffic along the Palisadoes Road in Kingston on New Year’s Day have apologized for “inconveniences caused” by the gridlock.

The gridlock, which lasted for several hours as partygoers 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.

In a statement on Tuesday, the party promoters apologized and said it would make improvements to ensure “patrons have the best experience possible with minimal disturbance to the public at large.”

They explained that “traffic recommendations were raised and agreed to before permission was granted to use the venue”.

Screenshot of video circulating on social media shows a man carrying luggage towards the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston amid a traffic pile-up along the Palisadoes strip on New Year’s Day.

However, the promoters said: “Despite the efforts made from the promoters end, there was a breakdown in the enforcement due to non-cooperation of the patrons with the parking arrangements, which in turn led to parking in unauthorized spaces causing the buildup of traffic.”

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.

Both National Security Minister, Robert Montague, and Police Commissioner George Quallo have ordered probes into the matter.

See full text of statement from the Sandz promoters below.

The promoters of Sandz would like to apologise for any inconveniences caused by the traffic on Palisadoes Strip last night.

It is important to note that traffic recommendations were raised and agreed to before permission was granted to use the venue. Security plans were shared with and approved by all superior bodies consisting of the hiring of police patrol on the strip, the rental of additional parking spaces/shuttle buses, advertising of the designated parking and the placement of adequate signage on the road.

Despite the efforts made from the promoters end, there was a breakdown in the enforcement due to non-cooperation of the patrons with the parking arrangements, which in turn led to parking in unauthorized spaces causing the buildup of traffic.

We would like to give a special thanks to those patrons who cooperated with the officials and made use of the designated parking lot. We would also like to use this opportunity to appeal to all patrons and Jamaicans in general that law and order should be followed in all activities and it is our belief that we can all party together while still following the rules and best practices set by governing bodies.

Thanks for the support last night and over the past few years and we will continue to make improvements to our product to ensure that our patrons have the best experience possible with minimal disturbance to the public at large.

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