Unlicensed teen driver charged for fatal smash-up on WCD

Nineteen-year-old Matthew Ambedkar, the person responsible for the horrific accident which claimed the lives of three individuals at De Willem, West Coast Demerara, was on Friday remanded to prison by Leonora Magistrate Seepaul Ali, before whom he was arraigned on indictable charges of causing death by dangerous driving.

Teen driver Matthew Ambedkar & Dead, from L-R: Ayube Mohammed, Carlito Gobinlall and Kiram Rampersaud

Ambedkar, of Tuschen Housing Scheme, East Bank Essequibo, was not a licensed driver at the time of the accident, and will make his next court appearance on March 24.

The mangled car

It has been reported that on Monday last, the teen was driving at a fast rate of speed when he lost control of the vehicle, and it crashed into the Sharmila Harrykissoon Sports Bar, resulting in the deaths of Carlito Gobinlall, 23, a Venezuelan national; Ayube Mohammed, 44, a fisherman of Meten-Meer-Zorg, WCD; and Kiram Rampersaud, 41, another fisherman of Zeeburg, WCD.
Previous reports have stated that Gobinlall was thrown several feet away, and landed in front of a pharmacy, while Mohamed was found under the debris and Rampersaud was found inside a drain.
Ambedkar was also injured, as were two other patrons of the bar – Wazim Mohammed and Chandrika Veerasammy, both of De Willem, WCD.
The Police have confirmed that, following the accident, a breathalyser test was administered on this teen driver, but no trace of alcohol was found in his system.
Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn has expressed concerns over the continued reckless usage of the country’s roadways, particularly by “young male” drivers.
According to the Minister, the country had a “successful year” in 2021 as it relates to road fatalities, with a 29 per cent reduction; but based on the statistics so far this year, “we appear to…already be in trouble, at the rate we’re going”.
Only a few days ago, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill issued a statement expressing concerns at the alarming rate of road fatalities for the year.
For the year 2021, 99 persons have been killed on the roadways, compared with 139 persons for 2020. The 2021 results showed a 29 per cent reduction when compared to 2020. The “vulnerable class” of road users (pedal cyclists, motor cyclists and pedestrians) accounted for 67.7 per cent of the total deaths in 2021, and for 79.9 per cent of the total deaths in 2020.
Minister Edghill has disclosed that, from the data retrieved from the Guyana Police Force (GPF), it was found that pedal and motor cyclists combined accounted for 37.4 per cent of the deaths in 2021, and for 56.1 per cent of those deaths in 2020.
Comparative data has shown that, as at March 3, 2022, 15 persons were killed on the roadways as a result of 14 accidents, while for the same period in 2021, 20 persons died from 19 accidents.
“What is significantly alarming is that, in 2021, 14 of the 20 persons killed at that period were the most vulnerable classes of road users (two pedal cyclists, eight motorcyclists and four pedestrians); while, at March 3, 2022, of the 15 killed, the vulnerable classes accounted for seven (two pedal cyclists, three motor cyclists, two pedestrians),” Minister Edghill has noted.
The Government official also noted that he and his Cabinet colleagues would relook at the current laws and examine ways in which they could ensure “stricter controls, be it the training/re-training of drivers/riders, higher fines or stiffer penalties, and a studied approach for the introduction of a demerit system.”