Mahaica fatal crash: Mother cries for answers, justice for only child

By Amar Persaud

Shemiza Rihanna Bhagwandat cannot even begin to process the fact that her only child tragically lost his life on her 45th birth anniversary during a high-speed chase with the Police.
Her grief is compounded by the lack of answers surrounding what exactly transpired leading up to that ill-fated moment when her 21-year-old son, Christopher Bhagwandat, met his demise.
It was only five months ago that she lost her husband, and now the pain of losing her only child is too much to bear.
“I want justice! I don’t want nothing to hear from the Police them…I’m asking God, if only possible, to give me back my son. Or, the Police have to give me justice,” the grieving mother stated during an interview with this publication.
In an official statement on the accident, which occurred at around 11:00h on Wednesday along the Mahaica Bridge, East Coast Demerara (ECD), Police said motorcar PNN 8852, which was driven by the now dead young man, was first stopped by traffic ranks during an operation at Perseverance, Mahaicony, ECD.
Bhagwandat reportedly pulled in the corner, but as traffic ranks approached the car, he allegedly drove away “at a fast rate of speed”.
According to Police Headquarters, the traffic ranks then alerted a mobile patrol, which then went in pursuit. This resulted in a high-speed chase, culminating in a four-vehicle collision involving another motorcar and a canter.
At the time, the young man had his 16-year-old girlfriend, Shereeda Persaud, in the car. Three Police officers, along with four civilians, including two children aged 2 and 8, were also injured.
Bhagwandat’s mother is perplexed over why her son drove away, noting that he is a licensed driver. However, she strongly believes that had the Police dealt with the situation differently, no lives would have been lost.
“He was a licensed driver, but the car wasn’t his. I don’t know who he got it from, but he is a licensed driver,” the woman reiterated.
“I couldn’t say why he drove away; I was not there. All that I know (is that) I got a message that my son got in an accident. I don’t know why the Police had to murder my son. They murder him, because I see on the video when the Police vehicle hit the car and the car hit into the truck,” the grieving mother cried.
“If they stop him, as they claimed, and he drive away, they should have traced him, trace him till he reaches to his destination; or just like how they videoing everything, they could have video the number plate.”
Just before the fatal accident occurred, young Bhagwandat had travelled to Bath, West Coast Berbice (WCB) to pick up his girlfriend to take her back to his Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara (ECD) home to celebrate his mother’s birthday.
But the mother said she was unaware of these plans. “From what I gathered, like he wanted to surprise me,” the woman reasoned. “He left [Wednesday] morning at 6 ‘o’clock, I was in my bed reading my Bible when he left, and he kissed me and he said, ‘Mommy, I’m going out’. I said, ‘Where are you going?’ He said, ‘I’m going out, I giving you a surprise,” and he left…I did not see when (he) go through the door, because I was in my bed.
“I cooked, and between 09:30h (and) 10:00h, I wasn’t seeing him coming home and I called. I said, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I near time to reach home,’ and I said, ‘Okay, if your near to reach, I’m waiting on you to eat’.
“I put the cake in the oven, and I watched and see it’s after 12, and I decide to call the phone. His phone was ringing out and ringing out, and I’m not getting no contact.”
At this point, the woman went on social media, where she saw news of the horrific accident. Shortly after, she received word that her son was involved in the crash.
Expressing concerns that the Police officers breached Standard Operating Procedures, the woman has called for a full-blown probe into what transpired, and warned that she would not rest until she gets answers and justice.
Young Bhagwandat had been the breadwinner of his household since his father suffered a stroke seven years ago. Bhagwandat had worked as a mechanic. “My son was loving and hard-working,” the woman has cried. “He was my breadwinner, because my husband passed away five months ago…my husband had a stroke seven years ago, and he [son] come out of school and he was working and mind we,” the mother explained.
“Since my husband passed away, me and my son live alone upstairs… and God took him from me!”