Cops probe mystery of missing barriers
Posted By: News
Date: 11, June 07, at 12:26 a.m.
BY RADHICA SOOKRAJ
The concrete barriers near Gulf City Shopping Complex, into which three young women crashed and died on Friday, were removed early yesterday morning.
Police investigators said they received reports yesterday that several of the concrete barriers had been removed from the scene.
Placement of the barriers, used to divide the South Trunk Road and an access road to the newly-opened RBTT Bank in Gulf View, was not authorised, police said.
These barriers were placed around May 11, when the new RBTT branch was opened by Energy Minister Conrad Enill.
Police has since launched a probe to determine why the barriers had been placed on the site and by whom, as well as to find out who had subsequently removed them.
Interviews are expected to be conducted with both the owners of the mall and the executives of RBTT. If it is found that the law was broken, investigators said charges of negligence could be laid.
“Obviously, there has been some negligence, because those barriers were a hazard and should not have been there in the first place,” a senior police source said.
Contacted by telephone, a security officer at Gulf City Shopping Complex said she had no information on whether any mall officials had ordered the barriers removed.
The main office at the mall was closed, and the officer said she had no authorisation to give out telephone contact numbers.
Police said during the past few months, three accidents had been reported on the South Trunk Road, because of these dangerous barriers.
Meanwhile, one of the survivors of the crash, Jewan Sookraj, told police that he did not see the concrete barrier as he was heading home with his wife Alisha Ali, 19, her sister Salisha Ali, 19, an aunt Natasha Mohammed, 16, and a cousin Candace Kissoon, 18, of Crescent Drive in Laloo Trace, Claxton Bay.
In a statement to police, Sookraj said a CD was playing in the car and as he drove north on the South Trunk Road, the music stopped.
Sookraj said that he leaned forward to press the replay button for the CD, and when he looked up he saw the barrier looming before him.
He rammed the barrier, unable to swerve away in time.
Sookraj’s wife Alisha, who was in the front passenger seat, died on the spot, along with Natasha and Kissoon.
Neither Sookraj nor Salisha had been told of the triple deaths. Funerals of the three girls took place yesterday. (See other story).
Sookraj suffered injuries to his legs and head, while Salisha suffered multiple injuries. Both were said to be warded in stable but serious condition.
The accident occurred around 4 am on Friday. All five had been returning from a lime at the Edge nightclub in La Romaine, in celebration of Salisha’s 18th birthday.
Cpl Ramdhanie of San Fernando Traffic Department is continuing investigations.
Meanwhile, civil attorney Anand Ramlogan said yesterday that charges of corporate manslaughter could be laid, if it was found that any corporate officials had been negligent in ordering the placement of the barriers.
“This is yet another example of the lackadaisical approach of the authorities. We need to find out why the Traffic Department did not investigate these barriers.
“We need to know why Town and Country Planning was also not informed,” Ramlogan said in an interview.
He explained that the police had a right to enforce laws for the protection and benefit of the society.
Charges could be laid against the perpetrators if it is found that the barriers had been placed on the South Trunk Road, without consent.
“Whoever is doing this investigation should pursue charges of corporate manslaughter,” said Ramlogan.
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