|Posted on November 15, 2019 at 11:55 AM|
On Monday, October 28th devastation struck at the Clan Carthy Primary School in Kingston. A garbage truck doing collection on the school grounds at about 4:30 pm was left unattended which resulted in it running off and slamming into a wall before overturning and crushing seven-year-old Clan Carthy Primary School student, Benjamin Bair. Sadly Benjamin was killed on the spot and two other students were injured. A Toyota Probox motorcar was also crushed by the impact of the garbage truck falling over. The incident caused shock and anger nationwide. Authorities spent hours into the evening trying to lift the truck with the use of a crane and other heavy-duty equipment.
The driver of the truck fled the scene after the incident and police were unable to identify him. Shortly after, the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) issued a statement expressing their grief over the freak incident. The NSWMA stated that it is “deeply saddened by this tragic accident. Our thoughts, deepest sympathy and prayers are extended to the parents, members of the school community, and friends of the deceased.” They noted that the garbage truck “is not owned by or currently contracted to the NSWMA. However, our Senior Team at MPM Waste Management Limited have been dispatched since the incident, and are on location offering moral support.” Executive Director of the NSWMA, Audley Gordon stated: “I am deeply saddened by this news. I know it’s a very painful and difficult time for the family and school community, and I want to convey sincere sympathies and condolences to them.”
Many school personnel and students along with parents were stricken with grief. Teachers of the institution openly displayed their pain and the principal fought hard to hold back his tears but he was unable to. Minister with responsibility for education, Karl Samuda, Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, and South East St Andrew MP, Julian Robinson visited the school to offer their condolences and support after the tragic incident.
Reports from the Elletson Road police in Kingston are that on Friday, November 1, at about 6.30 pm, the driver of the truck turned himself into police. He is Alten Brooks, 52, of Nine Miles, Bull Bay, St Andrew. He has now subsequently been charged with manslaughter. He is slated to appear in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Friday, November 15.
My heart goes out to the family, friends, and teachers of Benjamin. I cannot imagine the pain they are going through as I have small children of my own. It must be unbearable. In the case of the driver, he should not have fled the scene after the incident, Yes he must have been terrified and scared due to the gravity of the situation at hand but a child was killed due to his negligence. Why did he leave the truck unattended? And the school authorities must be held accountable as well. How did this happen? Why was a truck allowed on school ground while children were present? Why were there no teachers supervising the children to ensure that they were not allowed anywhere close to the truck if it had to be on the ground at those hours?
There are so many questions that I have that I need to have answered. I am enraged! I hope this isn't something that we merely push under the rug as a country. We need to look into all sides of this including the NSWMA. If it isn't their truck then whose is it? Who gets held accountable for everything leading up to this incident? And the driver should definitely be given a life sentence for not only killing that little boy but for fleeing the scene.
What are your thoughts on this tragic incident?