Sylvester Brown died in a head-on collision Tuesday afternoon as he was driving Member of Parliament Hamilton Lashley (Hammie La). Hammie was taken to QEH with non-life threatening injuries to his head and hand.
The driver of the other vehicle, Mario Daniel-Hood, 29, of Eden Lodge, St Michael, was also taken to hospital with unknown injuries.
While an autopsy might reveal whether Mr. Brown had been celebrating earlier in the day, Barbados Police are handicapped in their investigation because they will not be able to determine if or how much Mr. Daniel-Hood had been drinking.
In practically every civilized jurisdiction in the world when there has been an accident and the police suspect the driver might have had even one beer, the driver has to blow into a breathalizer machine to prove how much alcohol is in his or her body. We know that some people can drink lots and not “look” like they are drunk, but they shouldn’t be driving. The breathalyser provides scientific evidence so there is no doubt.
We lose more people to road deaths than we do to murder, but after two and a half years in office, the Thompson DLP Government has done nothing to address the serious problem that our country lacks enforceable, modern drunk-driving laws. That fact is also an additional risk factor that tourists take into consideration when choosing their destination.
Barbados Free Press has been calling for breathaliser laws and equipment for the police for almost five years now. In that time we have seen some horrible accidents and even mass fatal accidents – but our law enforcement officers have no way of testing to see how much those drivers had been drinking. Short of falling down drunk, there is no law against drinking and driving in Barbados.
The first job of government is to protect the citizens, and successive BLP and DLP governments have failed to protect the citizens when it comes to people who drink and drive.
Six dead at the Joes River tour bus crash, four more dead in the Emancipation Day crash and others. But in these and other serious crashes since, aside from an autopsy, Barbados Police have no way of proving how much an involved driver has been drinking. That is because our governments have been negligent in providing the legal structure and the equipment that the police need to protect us all.
Photo courtesy of The Nation article Hammie injured in fatal crash