In January last, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, requested that more than 12 inquests be held into a number of unnatural deaths. But since that time, the government has taken no action to appoint a Coroner to begin the process.
The Government, in particular, the Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, came in for much criticism on this matter from the Opposition during the recently concluded 2019 budget debates.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP)’s, Anil Nandlall reminded that three years ago, the Attorney General went to the National Assembly with great haste and rushed the passage of amendments to the Coroner’s Act to widen the scope of persons who can be appointed to serve as coroners. Williams said that this was necessary since the President had promised the nation that thousands of inquests would have to be done.
Nandlall said, “…Well three years after, not a single Coroner, I repeat, not a single Coroner has been appointed under these amendments. So much for the justice that this government said it wanted to give the people…”
According to the Office of the DPP, there are several traffic accidents which have been recommended for inquests, all of which remain stalled. The traffic accidents on the list includes the deaths of Shawn Richards on January 4 at Diamond Access Road, East Bank Demerara; Rohan Pooran, on the Stanleytown Public Road, New Amsterdam on February 10; Harry Persaud on the Sarah Johanna Public Road, East Bank Demerara on January 31; Kemo Stewart, at Water and Holmes streets on March 23; Krishnoutie, 62, at Met-en-Meerzorg Public Road, West Coast Demerara in June, 2017; Alana Ramsaran, 25, on February 3, 2018, at Schoonard Access Road, West Bank Demerara; and police constable Theon Hope and Quason Anthony, which occurred on May 1, 2018 at Loo Creek, Linden/ Soesdyke Highway.
An inquest has also been recommended into the March 10, 2018 motorcycle accident which claimed the lives of Stanley Junior, 24, and immigration officer Navana Chase on the Houston Public Road. The two were on a CBR motorcycle when Junior allegedly lost control and crashed into a lantern post while negotiating a turn.
Inquests into the drowning deaths of 50-year-old Gavin Moses and 13-year-old Kimeanda Prince on October 29, 2017, at Rockstone, Essequibo River and the stabbing death of Oranda Flatts, 25, which occurred at Amelia’s Ward, Linden on February 9, have also been recommended.
The March 15th fatal shooting of Dextroy Cordis, Kwame Assanah and Errol Adams, along the Kingston seawall, in Georgetown, is to also be the subject of an inquest. The men, who were described as suspected bandits, were fatally shot north of the GNS Sports Ground after police said they opened fire on ranks.