Quallo Accepts Responsibility for Palisadoes Chaos

“I accept responsibility for the debacle!”

That’s Police Commissioner, George Quallo, taking responsibility for the Palisadoes Airport fiasco which crippled operations at the Norman Manley International for several hours on New Year’s Day, January 1.

Commissioner Quallo has also admitted that indecisive policing due to the quality of the supervision and management caused the chaos which shut down the airport.

The Commissioner’s assessment is contained in the second report on the incident he submitted last Friday to National Security Minister, Robert Montague.

Commissioner Quallo was not decisive in saying how he’ll be holding those officers who fell down on the job accountable.

The Police Chief was very cautious in saying how he’ll deal with the officers who failed to act decisively in managing the traffic on the Palisadoes Road. He says “it appears Commanding Officer for the East Kingston Division, Superintendent Robert Walker’s lack of diligence may have contributed to the fiasco. He noted that he’ll have to consult the Police Service Commission, PSC, about holding the Superintendent accountable.

The Commissioner’s reluctance to take decisive action in holding the Divisional Commander accountable has deepened the rift between him and the National Security Minister, and the government.

In the first report he submitted to the Security Minister about the Palisadoes fiasco, Commissioner Quallo did not recommend sanctions for any member of the Constabulary.

Instead, the Police Chief said an assessment would be carried out to identify possible weaknesses in procedures used by the Police to manage entertainment events.

That report led to Minister Montague reminding the Police Chief that the law gives him sole superintendence over the operations of the Police Force and he should indicate how the High Command will be holding itself accountable.

In the second report, Commissioner Quallo said it appears that Superintendent Walker may be faulted for lack of diligence and proper execution in managing law enforcement activities in his Division on the day the Sandz Party took place.

Further – Commissioner Quallo told the Security Minister that he’s recommending that Superintendent Walker’s second in command, DSP Keisha Scott, be given more training in controlling the security of major events. He said he’d be sending a letter to DSP Scott to advise her of her shortcomings.

The Commissioner said he’d be sending a letter to Acting Commanding Officer for Police Traffic Division, Superintendent Courtney Coubrie, to find out why he sent Police personnel and vehicles to the location of the Sandz Party without permission.

Commissioner Quallo also reported that he’s asked an Assistant Commissioner in charge of administration to indicate whether a promoter of Sandz, Constable Sanjay Andrade, obtained permission from the PSC to take part in party promotions.

Quallo says he has also asked the Assistant Commissioner to decide whether Constable Andrade should be sanctioned for starting the Sandz Party before the permit indicated it should have commenced.

Some influential members of the Holness-Cabinet say they’re disappointed in the report and have lost confidence in Commissioner Quallo.

The Commissioner is being severely criticized in Government circles for his poor management of the crime fight and a perception that he has passed the buck and is shielding Superintendent Walker from being held accountable for the Palisadoes embarrassment which compromised operations at the country’s premier international airport.

— 30 —