In light of the revelations contained in the newspaper article titled, Long-time concerns about Coverley junction design and published in the Sunday Sun of March 25, 2018, I would like to make a public request to the Director of Public Prosecutions Ms Donna Babb-Agard to utilize the power granted to her under Section 79 (2) (c) of the Constitution of Barbados to immediately discontinue the criminal charge of causing death by dangerous driving that was recently preferred against Ms Felicia Holder in relation to the death of her son Abijah Holder-Phillips in a tragic motor vehicle accident three years ago.
The Sunday Sun article revealed the existence of no less than three official Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW) documents that unequivocally testified to the fact that the manner in which Mr Mark Maloney’s company had designed and constructed the entrance (unto the ABC Highway) of The Villages housing project at Coverley, Christ Church was inappropriate, deficient, and challenging or dangerous for motorists.
These documents are as follows:-
(1) A Ministry of Transport and Works file No 32211 Vol 4 (a file that pre-dated 2012-03-07) in which it was recorded at Minute 161 that “the entrance is not well designed, and it utilizes the hard shoulder which as designed creates a challenge for motorists” ;
(2) A Memorandum dated March 7, 2012 from Mr Frank Thornhill the then Chief Technical Officer of MTW to the Chief Town Planner of Barbados, in which Mr Thornhill not only apprises the Chief Town Planner of the above-mentioned negative assessment of the design, but also goes on to reassert that the design “encroaches on the road shoulder”; and
(3) A July 2015 letter by Mrs Cheryl Bennett-Inniss, written in her capacity as the then Deputy Chief Technical Officer of MTW, to the Permanent Secretary of MTW, refuting Mr Mark Maloney’s claim that it was the MTW that had designed the controversial junction, and also making the point that the design of the junction was “deficient”.
In light of the foregoing, it would seem to be the case that Ms Felicia Holder was – in the words of William Shakespeare – “more sinned against than sinning”.
Indeed, it would appear that Ms Holder and her precious eleven year old child — Abijah — were victims of a deficient and dangerous stretch of roadway.
Furthermore, how heartless is it for a supposed ‘justice’ system (and those human beings who operate it and make the decisions) to bring such a charge against a mother some three years after the tragic and traumatic incident.
Ms Holder would have spent the last three years trying to process and come to terms with the profound feelings of grief generated by the tragic death of her child. And now here comes “the system”– three years later — opening up all the old wounds again!
Well, Section 79 (2) (c) of the Constitution provides that “the Director of Public Prosecutions shall ….. have power in any case in which he [or she] considers it desirable so to do . . . to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by himself [or herself] or any other person or authority”.
Now, I am not aware who was responsible for instituting these criminal proceedings against Felicia Holder — whether it was the Commissioner of Police, the DPP herself, or some private individual. But what I do know is that Ms Donna Babb-Agard, our newly appointed DPP, has the power to bring the said proceedings to a halt.
And in the name of justice, decency, and humanity I call upon Ms Babb-Agard to do precisely that! Discontinue these heartless criminal proceedings against this young mother of our nation!