Letters to the Editor

Stadium full? How come?

Friday, August 10, 2018

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Dear Editor,

The 2018 Emancipation and Independence celebrations culminated on August 6 at the National Stadium with the annual Grand Gala.

The gala spectacle featured the music and culture of Jamaica and performances of local and international artistes paying tribute to our amazing island.

Jamaica's population stands at approximately 2.8 million and the capacity of the national stadium is approximately 25,000, which means only 1.25 per cent of the population will be able to be in the stadium at any one time.

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) implemented the ticketing system as a method of crowd control, which should see patrons comfortably seated enjoying the show. This, however, was not the case, as people were standing in the walkways, sitting on the steps, and creating a safety hazard in case of emergency. The event commenced at 6:00 pm and at 7:00 pm patrons were told that the stadium had reached maximum capacity.

Now, what got hundreds of patrons outraged was that they and their families were on the outside of the fun and exciting activities with tickets in hand only to be told the stadium was full. This raises the question, made popular by the Jamaica Public Service in an advertising campaign: How come?

How come hundreds still had tickets outside with inside being full?

The JCDC has been hosting the gala for years; therefore, the expectation is that in the planning and execution each year it would be improving in every area.

The event is free to the public but millions of the public's dollars are paid out to ensure that the event goes well.

Now the million-dollar questions: How many tickets were printed? Were there fake tickets? Did the people working at the gate cause the overload?

Whatever the answers the coordinators need to go back to the drawing board and analyse what caused the situation and apologise to the people.

Hezekan Bolton


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