Kaieteur News – The sponsors of last Sunday’s Guyana Cup should demand that the organisers institute a fact-finding inquiry into the traffic fiasco which resulted. This would help the organisers to understand the mistakes which were made and to prevent a recurrence.
Letters have appeared in the press complaining about the chaotic traffic situation. Reports indicate that vehicles caught in the traffic jam spent hours in the line. Some persons were said to have missed their flights to the airport.
With proper planning this ought never to have happened. But horse racing in Guyana does not have a central governing authority and as such it is often left to the clubs and stables to organise events, and because of lack of know-how to deal with certain issues, problems arise.
Many of those who wrote letters to the press and on social media, complaining about the situation, failed to identify the cause of the problem. One person wrote a letter detailing his experience but could find no other explanation other than a limited police presence. But the police are not the ones to blame.
If Guyana hopes to host international sporting events, it is important that it gets two things right. The first is crowd control and the second is traffic control. Whatever ambitions Guyana has of becoming a major host of sporting events, those will quickly disappear unless it gets traffic and crowd under control.
A number of major sporting events are slated for the remainder of this year. This weekend, there is drag racing at the South Dakota Circuit. Normally this event presents headaches for the authorities and given the overcrowding of the East Bank corridor, those headaches are not likely to disappear this year.
Next month, the Caribbean Premier League gets going in Guyana. Thousands of Guyanese will be coming in for this event but whether they will be able to reach the venue in time is another thing because the parking arrangements at the stadium are terrible.
When that stadium was first designed, the area immediately in front of it was not intended to be a parking area. This area is supposed to handle the inflow and outflow of spectators. When you are building a stadium you have to provide this area so as to prevent deaths should there be a stampede.
But some genius had an idea that this should be a parking lot for VIPs and now VVIPs. And someone also had an idea that the areas to the north of the stadium which were set aside for parking should be given out to businesses. As such the parking area for the National Stadium is much too small for the vehicles of those in attendance. Persons are therefore forced to park alongside the public road and in every available nook and cranny, thereby further impeding the free movement of vehicles.
It is not too late for the organisers of the Caribbean Premier League to decide whether the present parking arrangements at the National Stadium are satisfactory. It is not too late for them to move the matches from Guyana unless adequate arrangements can be made for parking and traffic control.
The fiasco which occurred at Rising Sun last Sunday should not be allowed to repeat itself. There was sufficient parking available aback of the race course. But Guyanese do not like to pay for parking and prefer to park wherever they please, no matter the inconvenience it poses to others. The organisers should publicise the cost of parking for that event. There are unconfirmed reports that some persons felt that the parking fee was too prohibitive. On this issue, the organisers should issue a statement.
The organisers should have also learnt an important lesson. You should not have a stage show and races at the same event. Both attract large crowds and when you combine a stage show with horse racing, you are inviting serious problems.
An assessment is needed into what took place last Sunday. But do not expect the organisers to be keen on having their shortcomings exposed. As such, do not expect any inquiry into what happened from that source.
It is now left to the Minister of Sport to intervene to demand such an inquiry. The sponsors of the event should insist on this because all the goodwill they would have gained from sponsoring the event would have been erased by the fallout from the traffic woes before, during and after the event. A little better planning would have made a big difference.
The authorities should help ensure that such a situation never recurs. Otherwise we can kiss hosting major sporting events goodbye.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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