These drivers should have been charged with manslaughter
Stabroek News
January 19, 2002

Dear Editor,

Like Denise Dias, Beverly Harper and all the other members of mothers in black I am just as angry, hurt and disgusted to learn that two young men who were charged with causing the deaths of two other young men, got off with a fine and an acquittal. They have survived to even "smile", something that the Singh and Ramoutar families may have a hard time doing.

As a matter of interest, what criteria does the traffic department of the Guyana Police force use in proffering charges in accidents that have resulted in fatalities? Does it seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions in such matters? As I understand the law, if one causes the death of another while driving a motor vehicle, the laws of Guyana provide for such a person to be charged with either manslaughter (the more serious offence), or causing death by dangerous driving, of course depending upon the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Following last week's travesty, clearly more such offenders ought to be charged with the indictable offence of manslaughter of which the maximum penalty is life imprisonment. Is it too much to hope that the state can find some ground on which to appeal this case?

Further, I have no problem with the goodly Minister of Home Affairs joining everyone else in offering his condolences to the families of the victims of last week's tragedy, he even offered advice to drivers using the roads, he said the three "Cs" must be observed at all times. (As those of us who attended driving classes would know).

But come on Mr Minister, I would have expected something more substantial from you, you have the power to deal with such offenders "condignly", you have the ability to just look up the road from your office on Fridays, and see the many persons who stand outside the very parliament you attend, calling for stiffer penalties for traffic offenders. When will new legislation be presented in parliament?

And Mr Minister, have you ever gone close enough to see the tears in the eyes of someone who has lost a loved one in a traffic accident? It's the pain that you cannot see that never goes away.

These may be cries in the dark ... but I am hoping that this call will be heard by those who have the power to stop the crying ... maybe it will ease the pain and a sincere smile may appear!

Yours faithfully,

Andrea Teekasingh