Speaker of the House of Representatives, Michael Pierre has called for government’s intervention following the unfortunate fatality of 44-year-old Sherma Thomas of Blaize, St. Andrew last week Thursday.
Thomas, a vegetable vendor at the Grenville Vendor’s Market in St. Andrew, lost her life after a portion of a vertical wall that collapsed due to effects of heavy rains, fell on a vehicle in which she was a passenger.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the deceased were inside the moving vehicle along with three other occupants, a 74-year-old man who was the driver, and her two daughters a 16 year old and a six year old.
Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene of the tragedy, while the others were rushed to the Princess Alice Hospital at Mirabeau, St. Andrew and have since been discharged except for the 6-year-old.
Speaker Pierre who was addressing a session of the Lower House publicly extended condolences to the family of the deceased at last week Friday’s sitting of Parliament at the Trade Centre in Grand Anse, St. George.
He urged elected Members of Parliament to take steps to ensure that erections near to the public roads are done in a particular manner.
“This calls for us to put mechanisms in place wherever structures are being built…especially close to government roads. Things like walls and so on must be dealt with by our institutions to ensure that those structures are well grounded,” he said.
“Yes, we had very heavy rains and we can call it a (sudden) accident, but if we go now and look at the foundation for the structure, you would realise that it was not built to sustain the weight of the area,” he added.
According to Pierre, he is very acquainted with Thomas’ grieving family.
“Now we would sympathise with the family but the fact remains that we have to put in place mechanisms, that no structure should be built especially bordering government roads, that is not sanctioned by the Ministry of Works,” he told Parliament.
“We have seen too many times when walls or so collapse and then it becomes a problem for government…I want to urge us that wherever structures are going to be built bordering government roads, not only vertical walls but even step ways and driveways humping the road…I think we need to be more stringent on this because we are affecting people’s lives in the process,” he said.
The plea made by the House Speaker seemingly impacted upon Works Minister, Gregory Bowen who responded in the positive about the need to do something about construction along the public roadway.
“As the Minister for Works it obviously rest upon me to look critically at the operations particularly in respect to planning of inspections and to ensure that we target the correct issues.
‘This incident has clearly brought out the need to prioritise what we do…we must look at where lives and properties can be at risk and so concentrate on it.
Minister Bowen gave assurance that his “ministry would be ensuring that the priorities are met.”
Member of Parliament for St. Andrew North-west, Delma Thomas, who attended the Paraclete Government School with the deceased said she was saddened by the tragic accident.
As of last week Friday, Thomas said that the Ministry of Social Development, which she heads, would be reaching out to the family to provide “counseling and other support.”
The tragic incident occurred at around 3.15 p.m. last week Thursday in Hope, St. Andrew as the vehicle, a white Toyota Hilux pick-up van was traveling en route to St. George.
Police officials are investigating the matter.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Thomas met her unfortunate death on the day she was celebrating her birthday.