Mahaica accident: Dead 16-year-old had left home for school – uncle

– contends that Police acted unprofessionally, calls for thorough probe of incident

Family members of 16-year-old Shereeda Persaud got the shock of their lives when they received news that the teen died in a tragic four-vehicle collision at Mahaica, East Coast Demerara (ECD).

Dead: Shereeda Persaud

When the fatal accident occurred, Persaud, of Bath Settlement, West Coast Berbice, was supposed to be attending classes at the Bush Lot Secondary School, where she had been a top performer. However, it would seem that the young lady had ditched school, and had been picked up in a motorcar driven by her 21-year-old boyfriend Christopher Bhagwandat, to head to his Mon Repos, ECD home to celebrate his mother’s 45th birthday.
The car driven by the young man, PNN 8852, was reportedly stopped by traffic ranks at Perseverance, Mahaicony, ECD. The young man had pulled in the corner, but as the cops approached, he reportedly drove away at a “fast rate of speed”. A mobile patrol was alerted, and it went in pursuit of the car. This resulted in a high-speed chase that culminated in a four-vehicle collision in which another motorcar and a canter were involved. Both Persaud and Bhagwandat were killed in that collision.
In an interview with Guyana Times, Shereeda Persaud’s uncle, Tameshwar, contended that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) acted unprofessionally.
“I think the Guyana Police Force acted unprofessional…I think the Guyana Police Force is unprofessional! They could have put other roadblocks after that one, because if you check that distance from Perseverance to Mahaica, tell me how much miles it has there?” he contended.
Like Bhagwandat’s mother, the Persaud family is calling for a thorough investigation into the matter.
“I met with the guy family this morning…we want a thorough investigation. I want to know how professional these Police are… I don’t want what happened to my niece happen to somebody else again. I think, and I know, they could do better, and we want a thorough investigation; we need somebody to come clean with us, because those footages that circulated on social media is unacceptable for us…that CCTV footage that we saw there with the Police on that bridge, they need to be more professional,” the uncle has asserted.
Shereeda Persaud had been the eldest of three children born to parents Munesh Persaud and Sheliza Mohammed, both 35. She had been preparing to write the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, for which her uncle was helping to pay.
“It’s paining me to know of this. Anything she asks for, I always give it to her. She always come to me and say “Cha-Cho, me want this or me want that.” I would try my best to give it to her,” the uncle cried.
“She has to write CXC. I went to the school and I tried to pay part of the money. The teachers told me that she wants to write arts and so on. I come home and I gather the payments and I pay for that exam,” the uncle said.
“My brother, he has to pay for their house. He took a loan from the bank, the family is in a squeeze. My brother, he does part-time taxi work, but he works at GuySuCo…is the only daughter from the family, and it’s really hard,” the uncle explained.
According to him, his niece had a bright future ahead. “She was a very jovial, kindhearted person, she always had a smile. She was very, very good in school, she was a part of the Youth Parliament…she was debating about accidents at the Youth Parliament,” the uncle noted.
Reflecting on the day in question, Tameshwar explained that the teen had left for school. In fact, he said the family was unaware that she had shared a relationship with Bhagwandat.
“We never heard about it. Last week I talked to her, I said, ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ She said, ‘Cha-Cho no, you promise me you going to pay for my exams, you did pay for the exams, but I don’t have anybody. When I finish, then I could have somebody”. But I said, ‘If you have somebody, feel free to talk to me. I’ll be open anytime to talk to you’,” the uncle explained.
According to him, his niece had left the house dressed in her school uniform. The family has confirmed that the girl had been in school but had left the institution’s compound at around 10:00h, at recess.
The family learnt that the teen died in the accident in the late afternoon.
“She supposed to visit my sister home, which that would have been 3 ‘o’clock…so we were waiting for her to visit us in Cotton Tree…the mother called me 3 ‘o’clock and ask me if Shereeda came, and I said no…the dam is long, so I said she probably at the dam coming in…I said I gon call as soon as Shereeda reach,” he explained.
However, he said, about ten minutes later, the family received a call, informing them that the teenager was involved in the horrific accident and was currently at the hospital. When the family rushed to the hospital, they were told that the young girl did not make it.
“They show us the video and I started to scream and say ‘That’s not my niece!’”
This young lady had acted as Home Affairs Minister at the last Youth Parliament in Georgetown. Her presentation had been based on the dangers on Guyana’s roadways. In fact, Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, has expressed condolences to the relatives and friends of this young lady, whom he said had had a bright future.
Investigations into the fatal accident are ongoing. (Amar Persaud)