It has to be the police


Thursday, January 11, 2018

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I believe that several of the individuals commenting on the eight-hour roadblock on the Palisadoes strip on New Year's Day are seeking to allocate blame on people who ought not to be blamed. However we wish to look at this matter, and from what angle we may analyse it, we cannot avoid questioning the role of the police.

The commissioner of police and no one else is to be held responsible for the road blockage. The commissioner of police has the primary responsibility of enforcing law and order in Jamaica. Whether there was a proper permit or not for Sandz to have its party is of no relevance to what transpired.

The commissioner of police, having learnt that the road to our major airport had been blocked, should have immediately taken steps to clear the road. And if he had to close down Sandz in order to do so, that is what he should have done. The commissioner of police should have seen the situation as a threat to the national security and the stability of the State of Jamaica. As such, he should have gone the extra mile and requested the army to provide air asset, that is helicopters, to fly police officers, and possibly soldiers, to the location and there he should give his subordinates instructions to lock down the sound system, close the party, and clear the road. If helicopters were not available the coast guard of the Jamaica Defence Force, as well as the marine police could assist with transporting officers by sea to the venue.

The main road was closed for some eight hours. This is unacceptable and should just never have been allowed to happen. There was an air of uncertainty and timidity about the way the police handled the situation. There was indecision if not fear on the part of the police. It can be said that the police retreated from their responsibility when faced with what transpired along the Palisadoes road on New Year's Day.

The country has been embarrassed and humiliated by the operators of Sandz who apparently were busy maximising profits while being oblivious to the national interest. Jamaica might now be well faced with a multiplicity of claims from citizens who missed flights, missed connected flights, and those who were prevented from meeting contractual obligations due to the blockage of the road to the airport.

The police commissioner and his officers should give a commitment to us that they will never ever allow anyone to block any main road or any other location or institution where the blockage constitutes a threat to the security of Jamaica. It is the duty of the police to maintain law and order. The buck stops with them, and they must accept full responsibility for failing to clear the road which was blocked for some eight hours.

Linton P Gordon is an attorney-at-later. Send comments to the Observer or




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