Child dies, driver flees country
… Canal #1 accident
By Fareeza Haniff
After being hospitalized for ten days at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) because of an accident that left her with severe head injuries, eight-year-old Jasmine Harding died at the hospital shortly before noon, yesterday.
Early yesterday, the child was on life support and semiconscious.
Her aunt, Melanie Miggins, who is also a nurse at the medical institution, told Kaieteur News yesterday that the child had sustained severe head injuries, a broken right arm and a broken right leg.
The family of the now dead child is confused and frustrated since they have no idea of the whereabouts of the driver of the car that knocked down the child on November 30, 2009.
The family now fears that the man has left the country and that no justice will be served.
The child’s cousin, Gavin Douglas, (who was erroneously reported to be her father) explained to this newspaper that the officers at the La Grange Police Station have no idea of the whereabouts of the driver, who is also an overseas-based Guyanese.
When the accident had occurred, the driver who resided in Meten – Meer – Zorg, West Coast Demerara, was taken into police custody at the La Grange Police Station and after 72 hours had passed, he was released on $30,000 bail.
After his release, he was instructed by the police to report on a daily basis to the police station.
However, this newspaper was reliably informed that the man’s last report was made on Saturday last. Since then, he has not made any other reports like he should at the station and he has not been seen since.
This newspaper was also reliably informed that the man has since left the country.
According to Douglas, the officer in charge of Traffic on the West Coast of Demerara, explained to him that the police do not have the authority to instruct the man to lodge his passport, as that power lies at the level of the judiciary.
Kaieteur News also understands that two police officers visited the driver’s residence on Tuesday night, but did not find him at home.
The car that hit the child is also no longer in the compound of the La Grange Police Station. Douglas said that he was informed that the car was released to the driver.
When contacted yesterday afternoon, Officer in Charge of Traffic, Clyde Denhart, confirmed that the driver, identified as Mohammed Zamrudeen, has not been located.
He noted that the driver was last seen on Saturday, when he made his daily report to the station.
According to Denhart, several checks were made at the man’s residence yesterday, but his relatives claim to have no idea on his whereabouts.
Relatives of the dead child want the authorities to investigate the matter thoroughly and to locate Zamrudeen so that justice can prevail.
The child’s mother, Cindy Miggins, told this newspaper that the man’s brother, who lives in the United States, contacted her on Tuesday night offering some assistance for the accident.
However the woman noted that she did not accept, since at that point in time, her daughter was in a critical state at the GPHC.
The child’s father, Franklin Harding, who resides in Trinidad and Tobago is expected to arrive in the country for his daughter’s funeral. The child leaves to mourn her parents and a three-year-old sister. Last Thursday, the relatives of the child staged a protest in the Canal Number One community after the driver was granted $30,000 bail.
Relatives and residents of the area blocked traffic after they set afire a number of items, including tyres on the road.
Kaieteur News understands that on Monday November 30, last, the eight-year-old came off the school bus in Bagotville, West Bank Demerara and was attempting to cross the road, when she was hit by the car.
“The child come off the bus…come in front of the bus and peep out to see if anything coming, and the peep that she peep out, he hit her in the head. He swerved from a bump and end up hitting she,” Douglas had explained to this newspaper.