McKenzie says no double standard in approval of Sigma RunTuesday, February 23, 2021
LOCAL Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie yesterday dismissed criticisms of double standards in granting permission for Sunday's Sagicor Sigma Run.
“Following the announcement by the most honourable prime minister in Parliament on February 9, applications for sporting events are being considered on a case-by-case basis. An application for the Sigma Run was made and approval was given after a full range of stringent protocols, for which the company was required to manage, were considered. 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 porotocols only, and is the first of a number of applications that was considered,” McKenzie said.
The Government, said McKenzie, 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.”
He said in a press release that some submissions for events 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 all our people to observe all the health and safety protocols, as this will fast-forward our recovery from this pandemic.
“Failure to obtain the proper approvals can have unwelcomed consequences. Unfortunately, this is what happened at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) training camp. While the JFF had submitted an application for the event, it did not wait for approval and sadly multiple cases of COVID [were] discovered among the players,” McKenzie said.
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