Young accident victims buried

Stabroek News
March 14, 2000

Hundreds of Guyanese yesterday turned up at the St Stephen's Church in Charlestown to pay their last respects to Orlando King and Ranetta Jessop who were later laid to rest at Le Repentir Cemetery.

The children were two of the 12 persons who died in Guyana's deadliest accident last week Monday. Of the 12 deaths, seven were from one family in Evans Street.

The accident involving the Route 41 mini-bus, BGG 5656 which had the names 'The King' and the 'Champion,' and a Leyland truck GGG 5290 carrying a load of sand, occurred at around 6:10 am last week Monday about 200 yards east of the Mon Repos Market. The accident occurred while the mini-bus was returning from Berbice where it had taken its passengers for the Mashramani celebrations in New Amsterdam on March 4.

There was barely space inside the church to breathe, while the road outside was lined with people and vehicles. There was much weeping among those who paid their last respects, including the school friends of the two deceased.

Eight-year-old King was the only child of Debbie Douglas and Ashton King, the owner of the ill-fated bus. Jessop was Douglas's brother's daughter.

Fabian Jessop, sister of Ranetta and the cousin of Orlando was released from the hospital yesterday to attend the funeral but was told to return to the institution today.

Four of the victims--John Douglas, the driver of the bus; his wife, Deon Inniss and their two-year-old son Jermaine Douglas and Sudella Franklyn called 'Dolla' were laid to rest last week.

The other six victims--Keisha Corrica, the three sisters, Roxanne David, Violet Sinclair and Barbra Sinclair along with her daughter Odessa Joseph and her two-year-old granddaughter daughter, Kennisha Joseph are to be buried on Thursday. Corrica was the sister-in-law of the three sisters, while Ranetta was the daughter of Violet Sinclair. Relatives said yesterday that the bodies would leave Lyken's Funeral Home for the Square of Revolution where the funeral service will be held and thence to Le Repentir Cemetery.

Meanwhile, officials from the Guyana Police Force said yesterday that investigations into the accident are still in progress. They are not sure if any charges will be instituted as a result.

The driver of the truck, whose name was given as Basdeo or Leroy Derrick of Shieldstown, West Coast Berbice was placed on $100,000 last week.

The accident took the lives of: Orlando King, John Douglas, Jermaine Douglas, Keisha Corrica, Roxanne David, Deon Inniss, Violet Sinclair her daughter Ranetta Jessop, Barbra Sinclair, Odessa Joseph and her two-year-old daughter, Kennisha Joseph and Sudella Franklyn.

The injured are: Devon Ridley, 22; Melissa Ault, 14; five-year-old Alwin and four-year-old Wayne Brimo; five-year-old Latoya and two-year-old Aubrey Hodge; Eon Heyligar; Fabian Jessop, 24; Oswald Davis called 'Buns', 37; Ceon Hicks, 22; Michelle Azore, 27; Tyrone Dowding; Ossie Joseph; Cheryl Williams, 36; and Odessia Edwards, 19.

Businessman reports handing over accident victims jewels to cop --probe underway The police are investigating a report that the missing jewels of the victims in last week's Mon Repos mini-bus/truck smash-up were handed over to the police shortly after the accident occurred.

Relatives have claimed that they have not received the jewels which the dead victims had been wearing. The accident which occurred last Monday claimed the lives of 12 persons.

Mon Repos businessman Motiram Ram popularly known as 'Sham' told Stabroek News on Saturday that he was personally responsible for handing over a number of jewels and other items to the police after the victims had been removed from the scene.

The jewellery included two pairs of gold bands, eight finger rings--one with a red stone which is believed to be a birth stone, two unmatched gold earrings, two silver chains, a pair of silver earrings and a silver band. When contacted for a comment Police Public Relations Officer, Senior Superintendent, Ivelaw Whittaker, told Stabroek News that the police were aware of the allegations and were investigating. He promised an update on the investigations.

Ram, who is joint owner of Bibi and Sham's Butchery, told this newspaper that he was surprised when he learnt through the media that the relatives of the accident victims had not received the jewels.

He said that he was one of the persons who arrived at the scene soon after the accident occurred. He claimed that he saw a young man stripping the motionless victims of their jewels and he asked him if he knew the persons. The young man, he said, replied that they were his family. However, when asked to name the victims the young man could not and as such Ram asked him to hand over the jewels to him and the young man complied.

The businessman, who itemised the jewels, said that they were handed over to a female constable (name provided) along with a national identification card, two National Insurance Scheme (NIS) cards, a New Testament and a wallet. The items, he said, were placed in "an orange and white baby lunch bag which also contained two [boys] underwear and a piece of left-over sandwich." Other items handed over were some bags and other documents.

A source at the Beterverwagting Police Station told this newspaper that the personal documents and "some bags" were lodged at the police station but not the jewels.

Relatives told Stabroek News yesterday afternoon that they had received a number of bags containing clothing and footwear, the ID and NIS cards, a watch with a broken hand, a $20 bill and some coins but no item of jewellery. (Miranda La Rose)