Georgetown, Guyana – (October 16, 2019): President David Granger, this afternoon, visited the relatives of Herbert and Denise Josiah and Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Sergeant, Leon Tucker and his aunt Lovern Stoby, to express his sympathy.
The Head of State was accompanied by Chief of Staff (COS) of the GDF Brigadier Patrick West and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nigel Hoppie, who is performing the functions of Police Commissioner.
The four persons were killed yesterday when a police vehicle slammed into the car they were travelling in on the Friendship, East Bank Demerara Public Road. Constable Ronel Barker, who was driving the police vehicle also died in the horrific accident while Lance Corporal Travis Fullington, who was with Constable Barker remain hospitalised. Tricia London, who was in the passenger car has since been released from the Georgetown Public Hospital.
President Granger visited the Friendship home of the Josiahs first where he expressed his profound sympathy to the grieving relatives.
“I came to say how sorry we are, to all you relatives, about what happened. [I know] Just saying sorry cannot bring people back to life. It cannot reverse the pain and suffering which I am sure you all are going through for those who died or are in hospital right now,” President Granger said.
The President said the accident ought not to have happened. “The road was clear. The road was perfectly clear, and I couldn’t imagine that such a horrific accident would occur; not a bruise or a graze but a head on collision.
It is something that is completely unbelievable that on such a plain road, plain daylight, no animals on the road, no obstacles that we could have such a horrific accident,” the Head of State said.
President Granger said it was the first time he has personally experienced such a horrific accident. “I saw a sight, which even in my army days, I never saw before. I never hoped to see. It is a really shocking tragedy,” he said.
The Head of State explained that he lives at Pearl, EBD and it was while on his way to the city that he observed the tragic accident.
“I have come here on behalf of the Government to say how sorry we are for what has happened. I speak on behalf of the Guyana Police Force and Chief of Staff of the GDF…[and] on my own behalf. You have our sadness from all levels,” he said.
A few hours after leaving the accident scene, the President convened a meeting of the National Security Committee and directed that a Commission of Inquiry be established into the accident.
“We are going to take measures to ensure that the roads are safer. The road is very heavily used and all of us in uniform have to exercise greater care. It is with sadness in my heart and a great sense of grief that I meet you, the relatives and friends of those who died,” the President told the couple’s relatives.
Meanwhile both Brigadier West and Deputy Commissioner Hoppie said support will be rendered to the families.
Brigadier West said the GDF has since granted Mr. Roberto Durant, a member of the Force and the couple’s son compassionate leave so that he could support his family during this period of grief.
“The Force has committed to providing assistance from the Force’s Welfare Fund for the burial of his mother and father. We will also support the wake the night before the funeral,” Brigadier West told relatives before committing to meeting the relatives before the couple’s funeral.
Similarly, Deputy Commissioner Hoppie said the Police Force will provide support to the relatives of the police rank who died while discharging his duty.
“We usually take care of the wake in its entirety. Also, he will be a beneficiary of some money that is allocated for members of the Force who died while serving. The Welfare Officer has already been engaged and preparations are afoot,” he said.
Similar sentiments were expressed to the relatives of Sergeant Tucker and his aunt, Ms. Stoby.
Brigadier West said he met with the Tucker family earlier today and expressed his sympathy on behalf of the National Security Committee, the Guyana Defence Board and the GDF.
“[You] will receive support…we have coordinated for the benefits to be received by the children. There are four children who are eligible to receive
death benefit pension and also have the gratuity. He will have a full military funeral on Tuesday 22nd October,” said Brigadier West.
The Chief of Staff disclosed also that support is being given to the family to have Tucker’s daughter enrolled in the GDF day care from 1st January 2020 free of charge.
Likewise, Deputy Commissioner Hoppie said Ms. Stoby’s family will receive support from the Police Force. Assistance will be given to the family though its Benevolent Fund and assistance will also be given for the holding of the last night of wake.
“One of her son’s is a serving member of the Guyana Police Force and I will ask the Welfare Officer to contact him to ensure that the necessary assistance we are going to give is on time,” he said.