Mahaica fatal accident: Parents of victims wish accident was just a dream
– receive assistance from fmr MP
By Andrew Carmichael
Speeding, reckless driving, and driving under the influence are most times the contributing factors of fatal accidents along our roadways.
This, oftentimes, severely impacts the lives of loved ones either financially or emotionally. The recent accident at Helena, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara (ECD) is one that will be on the lips of all of Guyana for the longest while, but no one will know how the relatives and friends of the deceased Christopher Bhagwandat and his girlfriend, Sheereda Persaud are coping.
In that accident, two young children ages two and eight were also injured, and the owners of the vehicles involved are also affected.
On that fateful day, Okesha Lynch, 32, was driving motor car PAB 8222 when a canter slammed into her after it was struck by a speeding car. At the time, her 20-year-old husband Derick Dickson was in the passenger seat and the two children were in the back seat.
“I thought that was it for us… as I see the canter coming towards me, I said that was it,” Lynch told Guyana Times. According to Lynch, it was a trying moment for her family, recalling that her eight-year-old daughter witnessed her father collapsing at Georgetown Hospital after he was taken there.
“It was a very traumatising experience and still it is. That was one of the worst experiences that we would have had.”
Since the accident, according to Lynch, she and her husband are both afraid to travel in vehicles. However, it is even more traumatising since she has to travel from New Amsterdam to Georgetown regularly which means she had to pass the accident scene.
In addition, Dickson who works at sea is unable to return due to injuries he sustained.
“He suffered head injuries and had to visit the neurologist. My feet are still paining and swelling. My husband is supposed to turn out to work, but he can’t. I started to work again, but I had to stop because of the pressure on my foot and it was swelling.”
Apart from both Lynch and Dickson being unable to earn, the family had spent in excess of $150,000 in medical bills and other accident-related expenses. The emotional trauma is having the greatest impact on the couple who still have to provide for their family.
Still trying to come to grips with reality, Munish Persaud, the father of 16-year-old Sheereda Persaud, stated that his daughter had a bright future.
“She was studying hard. She had big plans. She wanted to further her studies and become a medical doctor,” the father held back tears as he reminisced on his daughter. He recalled her participating in the Youth Parliament and she was very excited to one day join the political arena.
While he did not say much due to the hurt he and his family is experiencing, he wished that his daughter’s soul would rest in peace and hoped that the tragedy was just a dream. He was not happy that the Police Corporal who is responsible for the accident was granted bail. As such, he would like to see the Policeman facing the full consequences at the end of the court proceedings.
On the other hand, Rehana Bhagwandat, 45, the mother of Christopher is trying to move on after losing her husband about five months ago, and now her only child who took care of her after the passing of his father.
“It is hard. Every day I cry. I do not know what might happen to me. I just don’t know,” she said. She explained that her husband had suffered a stroke in 2015, forcing her only child to leave school and forsake his dreams of becoming a doctor.
“My son came out of school and said he was learning to weld. In 2017, he started working as a mechanic, welder and driver until his demise in February. He was murdered,” the mother cried.
The 20-year-old man dreamt of owning his own home and wanted a better life for his mother. “He never used to smoke or drink. He was a Sunday school teacher. He told me that he wanted to buy his own car and opened his own workshop, because he was a mechanic. But those dreams never came true,” the woman cried, noting that she wished it was just all a dream.
The real impact of the accident cannot be really expressed.
Meanwhile, on Friday last, Region Six former Member of Parliament Dr Veerasammy Ramayya presented cheques totalling $1.5 million to those who have been impacted by the tragic accident. $500,000 was presented to relatives of Bhagwandat and Persaud, while $250,000 was given to Safraz Hassan, the owner of the car that Bhagwandat was driving at the time of the accident. The car was completely destroyed. In addition, Vannie Bharrat was also presented with $250,000 to offset hospital expenses for her husband who was driving the canter.
The 46-year-old cattle husker has still not yet recovered from injuries he sustained from the accident.
“He has pain in his shoulders, his two knees, his tummy and he is unable to work,” the mother of three revealed.
According to Bharrat, a housewife, her family is struggling financially since the accident. The canter she explained has been written off. For her family, the accident is a nightmare with the impact having far-reaching consequences.
Speaking with Guyana Times, Hassan, who is a carpenter said Bhagwandat had borrowed his car which did not have comprehensive insurance coverage.
“The insurance company told me I can’t get back anything on that.” Although he was not personally involved in the accident, Hassan says his losses and suffering are great.
“I work as a construction worker and when I am not getting a job, I would drive my car and fetch passengers.” The 32-year-old Hassan has a wife and a nine-year-old child.
Weeks after the accident, the driver of the Police vehicle, 27-year-old Police Corporal Lawrence Carmichael of Seafield Village, West Coast Berbice (WCB) has been charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving. He was granted bail in the sum of $1.5 million.