Police still to arrest suspects for vigilante beating
Over six weeks have passed since the truck driver involved in the Agricola, East Bank Demerara accident, which claimed the life of a seven-year-old girl, was severely beaten by residents from the area and the police are yet to make an arrest.
However, the police are still investigating the matter, with the hope of identifying the persons responsible for the vigilante beating and burning of the driver’s truck.
Last month, A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) Commander, Marlon Chapman publicly declared that those caught for the crimes will face the full brunt of the law.
“Yes, once they are identified we will have them arrested. Everyone who is identified for assaulting the man, we will have them arrested. Despite the circumstances, they cannot beat someone, that is against the law”, Chapman had told Guyana Times.
Videos on social media showed that the truck driver was dripping blood as a result of the beating he received. After the beating, he was handed over to the police who took him to the Georgetown Public Hospital to seek medical attention.
However, Crime Chief Lyndon Alves also told this publication on Sunday that it is too early to determine who is responsible for the fatal accident while adding that investigations are ongoing.
“I will not want to pronounce on that until that investigation by the Traffic Department is completed. That is the confusion because we pronounce without getting the facts and when the facts are revealed then persons would want to say that the police are covering up.”
Based on reports received, on June 1, the child was attempting to cross the road with her aunt, Samantha Barry, at about 16:45h in the vicinity of the Independence Arch at Agricola.
During that time, a truck bearing registration number GWW 962 was heading to Georgetown when he allegedly swerved to avoid hitting a vehicle and ended up in the path of the pedestrians.
Upon impact, the woman was flung some distance away while the truck remained fixed on the median with the child pinned underneath. A light pole was unearthed as a result of the impact and subsequently collapsed on the roadway.
About one hour later, a forklift and crane were used to lift the vehicle and remove the child’s remains. Her body was completely severed.
Benjamin’s aunt recalled that she had just picked up the child and held her hand as they were crossing the road to go home. However, she claimed that the truck “came from nowhere” and slammed into the child.
After the scene was cleared, there was a sigh of relief but another unexpected tragedy arose when the lorry was set alight at about 18:10h, creating a towering inferno in the middle of the roadway.
Laden with fuel, it burned for hours, blockading the flow of traffic. At one instance, there was a string of vehicles from Diamond on the EBD, to Mandela Avenue.
Pedestrians stood in disbelief as small explosions erupted from the fire. At 18:43h, the Guyana Fire Service was yet to arrive at the scene as fuel leaked onto the roadway, burning uncontrollably and threatening nearby buildings.
Nevertheless, commuters took the risk of crossing the burning truck, in what was described as one of the “most dangerous” situations.
Police presence was observed at strategic points to maintain order on two of the four lanes which were operational. One driver related that he was waiting for three hours to access the Demerara Harbour Bridge.
At 19:28h, firefighters arrived at the scene to douse the burning truck, which was completely burnt.