Just over two months after a collision in the Aruka River, North West District, claimed the lives of two children, their family is still seeking justice.
Loyzal Da Silva, 7, and Daveanand James, 6, the two youngest children of Basil DaSilva and Ophelia James, died after the boat they were travelling in with their parents and an older sibling was hit by another vessel.
Ophelia James, who had suffered two broken ribs, a fractured shoulder blade and a punctured lung as a result of the accident, had told Stabroek News that her two youngest children were knocked unconscious as the boat was sinking and their older brother, Wayne, tried to save them but his valiant efforts were fruitless.
Although in the days that followed it was reported that several persons were questioned in connection with the accident and that the police sought legal advice on how to proceed against them, no charges have been laid.
However, a sister of the dead children, has voiced her concerns over what she believes is a deliberate attempt by an investigating rank, who is stationed in the region, to delay justice for the family.
The rank, she said, is known to be a friend of one of the suspects in the accident and had previously threatened her grandmother after she refused to sell him a macaw.
With both of these factors at play, the woman said that her family is fearful that the persons responsible for the accident that caused the death of her siblings will never be brought to justice.
“The boy come out and walking around freely; the police, when I asked them, say that they still investigating and he, the … officer, even tell me that we might have to wait as long as 10 years before we could get any justice,” the sister said.
She went on to say that since the accident, a relative of the accused has even contacted the family on the premise that he has evidence implicating the suspect in the accident. However, she added that when the family tried to relay this to the officer, he refused to hear what the family had to say.
Additionally, she stated that when her father visited the police station to give a statement relating to the accident, the rank took his statement but had been seen discarding it not long after.
“When my father went to give the statement is the same … man take it, but after he take it he try to throw it away and my father see and went to pick it up from the garbage. When my father try to pick it up, somebody see and tell he (the police rank) and he come and snatch it away from my father and ask if is trouble he looking for,” the woman said.
“If police can’t give yuh justice, who we can expect to give we justice…look the boy walking around out here telling everybody that money run things while my family struggling,” she added.
The woman went on to say that apart from the difficulties faced with the police, her family has been left to endure financial hardships.
She explained that since the motor on the boat in which the family had been traveling in at the time of the accident was badly damaged, her father is unable to utilise the vessel to catch fish, which was previously a primary source of income for the family.
Further, as a result of injuries her mother suffered in the accident, she was air dashed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where she was hospitalised for a period of time.
Not long after she was discharged, the woman said her mother was asked to return to the hospital for a checkup, however, due to her inability to secure accommodation in the city, she decided to travel back to the region. Since then, she has been unable to return to the city to for the checkup since the family is unable to secure passage for the woman to make the trip. As a result, she is left to endure the pains that accompany the injuries she would have suffered in the accident.
When contacted for an update on the police investigation into the matter, Commander of ‘F’ Division Senior Superintendent Ravindradat Budhram told Stabroek News that the file has since been returned from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions but he stated that he was not in a position at the time to comment on what advice was given on the matter.