Regional Councillor and Pastor of the Fruits of Calvary Assembly of God (AOG) church Renis Morian has issued a call for heavy vehicles to utilize bypass roads in Linden to avoid risking the lives of pedestrians especially children.
His call came after Aquilah Samuels, 4, and her cousin Shaka Anthony, 13, lost their lives, after they were struck down on Wednesday.
According to eyewitness reports, Anthony was towing Samuels on a pedal cycle, after collecting her from the One Mile Nursery School, when the accident occurred, on the Winifred Gaskin Highway/One Mile Road at Linden.
In a statement, police said investigations revealed that an oil tanker, bearing licence plate GFF 9050 and a car, PKK 8621, were proceeding in opposite directions along the roadway when, it is alleged, the children rode out from an access road and collided with the car.
As a result of the collision, the two children fell off the bicycle into the path of the tanker and were run over. The two drivers are being held at the Mackenzie Police Station, where they are assisting with the investigations, police added.
Morian yesterday visited the home of the two children, accompanying Regional Chairman Mortimer Mingo who offered condolences and support.
“I am always left at a loss to know why the system does not support an initiative that speaks to the protection of our children,” Morian said.
He said he has always lobbied for two bypass roads at Linden and that in the past heavy vehicles were made to utilize bypass roads which ran from the Wisroc Junction, pass Block 22 and onto the Wismar/Mackenzie bridge.
Mingo and Morian both pledged the support of the RDC and the local AOG church to assist the family in getting through their bereavement.
Mingo said that the RDC is prepared to render assistance based on the family’s needs and encouraged the parents and relatives to be strong, assuring them that they have the full support of Linden.
Aquilah’s grandmother Desiree Samuels, while thanking the regional authorities for the pledge, recollected the moment she got the news.
The woman said she had left Linden the very day and was awaiting a flight to the interior at the Manganese mining firm. “The flight was cancelled because of the weather, and I was waiting to go in when I had come back home when I get a call about these children,” the woman said as tears filled her eyes.
At Aquilah’s school there was an air of sorrow. Teachers had tear-streaked faces and children, though outfitted in their ‘African Dress Day’ wear, wore black ribbons donated by a parent.
Head Teacher of the school Mark Allicock told Mingo that they were trying their best to remain strong. He said he had felt a special closeness to the 4-year-old and was the last teacher to interact with her before she left for home on Wednesday. He said that her class teacher was absent that day and he had taken the class. “Aquilah was the first to prove to me that she knew how to spell her name. She was so full of energy,” Allicock said as he held the last piece of work the child did before leaving for home that day. He said that the school is planning a wake with the pupils and will be packaging all her school work to present to her parents.
Relatives said the post-mortem examinations are to be done on Monday after which funeral arrangements would be made.