…as speeding Police car, taxi collide head-on
…President orders CoI
Five persons lost their lives in a tragic early morning accident at Friendship, East Bank Demerara (EBD), when a taxi and a speeding Police car collided head-on.
CCTV footage shows that a motorcar, bearing registration number PPP 515, was proceeding north along the Friendship Public Road while the police car was travelling in the opposite direction.
From all indications, the police car had its siren blaring and was travelling at a fast rate of speed. As such, the civilian motorcar was seen coming to a halt when the two vehicles collided head-on.
The police car spun several times before it ended up in a nearby trench. Both vehicles were damaged beyond repair.
The taxi driver’s body was hanging out of the shattered windshield while the other passengers were scattered across the road, all covered in blood and broken glass.
The Police car was being driven by 23-year-old Ronnel Barker, a presidential guard of Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara (ECD). Barker, a father of a baby girl,
died on the spot.
Also in the police car was 25-year-old Travis Fullington, a presidential guard of Princes Street, Georgetown. Fullington, a father of a four-year-old son, is in a critical condition at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
The taxi driver has been identified by family members as Leon Tucker, who was a member of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and a father of two young girls.
He was transporting his aunt, Lovern Stoby, a Special Constable. Stoby was a mother of four children, but two are currently deceased.
Also, in the taxi were newlywed couple Herbert Josiah, 58, and Denise King Josiah, 57 of Friendship Squatting Area.
There was a fifth person in the taxi, who has been identified as Treisha London. She survived the crash and is in a critical condition at the GPHC.
When this newspaper visited the scene and the hospital, relatives of the deceased were inconsolable as they cried loudly, grieving over their loss.
Initial reports suggested that the police car was part of a presidential convoy heading to President David Granger’s home at Pearl, EBD.
However, the Ministry of the Presidency has denied those claims but up to press time, authorities had not disclosed why the presidential guards were in the area or what operation they were on to be using their sirens.
President David Granger visited the scene of the accident where residents vented their concerns about what they perceive to be reckless road usage by Police officers.
“These people need to pull themselves together. It’s speeding,” one resident contended while the Head of
State was at the scene.
In a subsequent statement, Granger expressed condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives.
Meanwhile, in another statement on Tuesday night, the MoTP announced that President Granger has ordered a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the accident.
This move has triggered concerns given that President Granger and his Government are supposed to be in caretaker mode since the passage of the No-Confidence Motion on December 21, 2018.
This is stated in the Guyana Constitution and was reiterated by several courts including the Caribbean Court of Justice, whose President, Justice Adrian Saunders, emphasised that the Government must operate on a different footing.
This means that its powers are limited only to that of running the country during the brief period until elections, which, according to the Guyana Constitution, must be held within three months of the passage of a No-Confidence Motion.
President Granger is quoted in the MoTP statement as saying “I would like you to know that this shocking event will be thoroughly investigated. In fact, soon after the accident, within two hours, I directed the acting Commissioner of Police, Mr Nigel Hoppie to launch an inquiry headed by a person no lower in rank than the Deputy Commissioner, to determine how such an accident could have occurred and also to make recommendations to prevent a recurrence”.
“We will ensure that if there was any error, any mistake, any wrongdoing… that there will be no further event like this in the history of the Police Force or the Guyana Defence Force.”
Further, President Granger assured that whatever the cause of the accident, the Government of Guyana, the administration of the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force, the Cabinet and the National Security Committee, which was also briefed about the accident, will take every step to ensure that the roads are used safely by all members of the security forces.
Granger added that steps will also be taken to ensure that regulations, Standing Operating Procedures, inspections and the careful selection and training of drivers, are measures which are put in place so as to prevent a reoccurrence.