Outrage over road tragedy
PORT OF SPAIN — Sea Lots residents exploded in sporadic fits of rage yesterday and some even cried as they expressed their emotions after a car driven by an off-duty police officer ploughed into six residents on the pavement just after 9 a.m., killing a mother and her two daughters on the spot.
The emotions, anger and violence erupted when residents claimed police removed a half-empty bottle of whisky from the officer’s vehicle, a claim police on the scene immediately denied.
Police had to use tear gas and rubber bullets to restore order, as residents blocked the Beetham Highway, throwing pieces of concrete and other debris on the roadway shortly after the incident, and again around 3 p.m.
The highway was closed off to traffic for most of yesterday, and motorists were advised by police to use alternative routes to head into Port of Spain.
In response to fears by residents that the police were protecting one of their own, acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams told TV6 yesterday, “I want to assure you that there will be due care involved in this investigation and everything will be done in a timely and proper manner, and even if it also means that the police officer will be given a breath test. There is no intention by the Police Service to cover up any incident involving police officers.”
According to police, the off-duty officer, who is assigned to the Transport and Telecom Branch, was heading west in his metallic beige-coloured Toyota Corolla, when his car swerved to the left just after the traffic lights after the Central Market, mounted the sidewalk and ploughed into the six people standing there.
Among those killed were Hady Paul, 28, and her daughters, Akasha Paul, eight, and Shakira Paul, seven. They were returning to their home at Production Drive, Sea Lots, from the market.
Akasha attended the Nelson Street Girls’ Government Primary School, while Shakira was enrolled at the Eastern Girls’ Government Primary School.
Residents also pleaded for a walk-over to be built to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. (Express)