Accident makes Holland miss UG final year exams
- car `written off' in Mandela Avenue collision

By Shirley Thomas
Guyana Chronicle
May 31, 2001

A UNIVERSITY of Guyana final year Communications major could not commence writing examinations like his colleagues did yesterday because of an accident which left him seriously injured Monday night.

Carwyn Holland, Managing Director of Holland's Entertainment Productions and producer of the popular `Sports View' programme on GTV Channel 11, is now confined to bed and says he will be unable to write any of the subjects he had planned to in preparation for graduation this year-end.

Holland, 24, was injured and his car, PEE 308, 'written off' in a collision with two of three mini-buses allegedly racing around a bend just off the Mandela Avenue bridge behind the Botanic Gardens in Georgetown.

His 22-year-old sister, Shonette, who was in the car was also injured and they both had to be rushed to the Georgetown Hospital.

Shonette, an employee of the Ministry of Culture, suffered injuries to her head, face, shoulders, and feet and was treated and sent home the same night.

Carwyn, whose injuries were more severe, was admitted to hospital and discharged yesterday.

He suffered injuries to the head and neck, spine, both feet and other abrasions about the body. He is unable to walk more than a few paces, cannot stand for very long and is complaining of still feeling unwell.

Holland said that initially he suffered a mild paralysis after sustaining injury to his back.

The accident happened shortly after 19:00 hrs as Holland was taking Shonette to rehearsals for the show "Awe Society" at the National Cultural Centre.

He said that he had just crossed the high bridge behind the Botanic Gardens and was proceeding slowly south along Mandela Avenue when the three mini-buses travelling in the opposite direction came upon him at a terrific speed.

A collision with two of the buses and his car resulted.

Holland figured that had he been speeding, both he and his sister might have been killed in the accident. "But I was driving slowly," he recalled.

He said that the driver of a truck behind him later said he was just contemplating overtaking him when the mini-buses, one of which had no lights, appeared.

"Had they collided with that truck instead of my car," he opined, "then probably all 26 persons reported to be in one of the buses might have been killed."

An eyewitness reported that as the vehicles approached the traffic lights outside the National Cultural Centre, they slowed down. "But as soon as the light changed to green, these buses plunged forward...", the eyewitness said.

One bus drove away from the scene of the accident while the others were taken to a city Police station. One, however, was reportedly released the same night.

Holland's uncle, Sociology Professor, Ken Danns expressed concern over the degree of callousness on the nation's roads.

He alluded to the suffering, inconvenience and expenses that have now been heaped on the young businessman.

"Carwyn will now be unable to write his final exams; his car has been written off; he has a loan which must be repaid to the bank; legal expenses if he is to get anywhere with this case, not to mention the fact that he is left somewhat incapacitated and almost died."

Danns said that no amount of insurance money could put his nephew's car back on the road.

He alleged that over time it has been observed that drivers of route Number 40 buses at the end of the day blatantly abuse the Homestretch/Mandela Avenue road.

"It is a kind of daredevil thing, and nobody wants to back off", he stated.

Danns said that unless the law takes a firm hand, the practice would prevail, particularly since some the buses are not owned by the drivers engaging in such behaviour.

He spoke of the imbibing of alcoholic beverages, "smoking stuff", and other practices not in keeping with the law, taking place on buses in which commuters' lives are entrusted.

Danns felt that decent law abiding citizens using the roads could probably "never be too careful" for there could always be that moment when the insane behind wheels could strike.

"It's frightening! Why should mad people be allowed to drive?," he asked.

He echoed sentiments repeatedly expressed by Justice William Ramlall, in his capacity as Principal Magistrate with responsibility for the Providence District, that many of the drivers of mini-buses are illiterate, do not know the rules of the road, and don't even try to learn them, even after being given licences for which they have clearly not qualified.

The behaviour of these drivers on the roads is like the "Wild West", he contended.