The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has advised the police to bring a charge of manslaughter against the captain of the boat in the Pomeroon River crash which claimed six lives.
Stabroek News was told that Hytilall Ramadhin could make his first appearance in an Essequibo court today.
A source close to the investigation said that after the statements and other evidence contained in a file prepared by the police were reviewed, the DPP found that there was enough evidence to lay a charge.
On December 18 last year, a Region 2 administration boat, which was being used to ferry staff of the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) Project for a distribution exercise, collided with a passenger boat in the Siriki district, Pomeroon River.
Boat captain Harrinarine Bhagwandin and his nephew Vincent Singh, 40, both of Abrams Creek; Velda Rodriguez, 50, and her son Shawn Rodriguez, 14, also of Abrams Creek; and Rajkumar Singh, 14, and his sister, Amerita Singh, 10, of Charity Housing Scheme, Essequibo Coast died as a result of injuries sustained in the collision.
They were all travelling in the passenger boat.
There was only one survivor of Bhagwandin’s boat and it has been suggested that some of the victims could have been saved if the passengers in the region’s boat had stopped and rendered assistance after the collision.
No one from the region’s boat was injured.
MARAD said in a press statement on December 29th that one or both of the captains failed to observe international regulations and it disclosed that it has advised the `G’ Division police to proceed with charges. The normal procedure in the case of a river accident would be an investigation by MARAD before the case is turned over to the police.
According to MARAD, both vessels were travelling close to the left bank of the river on a (similar) course when they collided and that the collision was caused by one or both captains of the vessels having failed to observe the international regulation for preventing collision at sea and the Guyana Shipping Act of 1998 Sect 225 (1).
It said its investigation revealed that at the time of the collision, it was raining but that did not obscure the captains’ visibility. Instead, it explained that there were a number of breaches which were found to be in violation of the Collision Regulations, including “Failing to maintain a proper look out at all times”, “Proceeding at a safe speed so as to take proper and effective action to avoid collision”, “Failing to alter the vessel’s course to starboard” and “Failing to render assistance to operator and passengers”, MARAD’s statement had said.