Chauffeur killed, Barbados MP injured in head-on crash. Police lack authority for proper investigation.

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


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Police, Tourism

22 responses to “Chauffeur killed, Barbados MP injured in head-on crash. Police lack authority for proper investigation.

  1. RRRicky

    This story is becoming a regular feature at BFP. Every year once a year like clockwork the AG of the day muses about making a breathalyzer law.

    That happens once a year.

    Every time someone gets killed bfp reminds us that the politicians who muse about the law are blowing smoke. Thank you BFP.

    Can you make a list of the people killed in traffic accidents in the last five years? Where do we find the information to make the list?

  2. X

    I agree with BFP that the police need to have this tool in their arsenal and I agree that BFP should constantly remind people of the issue. So I support you in that.

    However I wonder whether it’s fair or in good taste to make such suggestions about specific people and incidents such as this, particulalry when they’re dealing with the tragedy of it all. It could equally be that neither was drinking and this was a legitimate accident. And if so, how would an article like this make Daniel-Hood feel. I mean the man probably feels pretty bad about his involvement in this other man’s death.

    I am not saying that you’re necessarily wrong to use this to highlight the issue – I just wonder how it would make him feel if he knew for sure that he wasn’t drinking and probably feels pretty bad about it all.

    Just something to think about.

  3. BFP

    Hi X

    Marcus here. i understand your position and your concern, but after almost five years of calling for this legislation we’ve seen nothing. Perhaps we need to be less polite. Less quiet. Less “fair”. Perhaps we need to upset people with our bad taste. If we had photos of every person who died in auto accidents in the past five years we’d print them all together.

    A lot of people died in traffic accidents during those five years and the police still lack the tools to take drunks off the road.

    The only reason I can see why the DLP and BLP politicians haven’t made this a priority is they don’t care.

    Perhaps now that a friend of a politician has died they might bring in this law, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for it.

  4. John

    First – Condolences to Mr Daniel-Hoods family.

    Yet another fatal accident in Barbados. Breathalysers are in the country – why aren’t they being introduced? No indication that any alcohol was involved but it needs to be checked.

    Were seat belts being worn?

  5. Stuart

    Trying to understand how the breathalizer will be any help in this case and in some other cases when the driver is dead? surely using the breathalizer on Mr Lashley is not of any help since he was the passenager……Dont get me wrong, I know the breathalizer can be of a great help, say the driver survive and is stable enough to under go the test but not if the driver dies.

  6. Blind Boy

    Hammie thanks God for saving his life. Unfortunately God didn’t think Sylvester Brown’s life was worth saving too? Condolences to the family.

    You said “We lose more people to drunk driving than we do to murder.” Could you kindly let us have the source of this information? Thanks.

  7. BFP

    Hi blind boy

    shoulda said “to road deaths than murder”

    that’s the original quote from dottin. we fix. thx.

  8. BFP

    Stuart… one driver lived but the police had no right to ask him to blow into the breathalizer cause there is no law.

  9. John

    @. Stuart. In a recent accident involving two buses, on of the drivers was said by police to be drunk from the night before. But they had no way of checking.
    in this case the issue is not that anyone WAS drinking, the issue is the police still can’t test for it. This is hard on the heels of a tragedy on Spring Garden Highway.

    The crime here is that breathslysers are in Barbados & not being used!!!!!!

    On a seperate note, why does Hammi have a chauffuer & was he paid for by the tax payer?

  10. What will they think of next

    If the police use Breathalysers, then Cliverton will be in trouble.

  11. Love

    Senator Boyce gave an impeccable performance last evening during his first live press conference.

    I guess the BEES now realise that they are no match for the DEMS dynamic economic team.

    La La……these are the signs of the TIMES !

  12. Love a Laugh

    Love, your statement is profound in its incorrectness. The Pastor certainly did not give the answers the people wanted to hear… perhaps he needs to head back to the pulpit and beg forgiveness for his sins

  13. twwifos

    BFP: You should not have printed Hoods name. While your intentions may be good your slandering some guy that may be totally innocent. Just ask yourself how you would feel if the tables were turned. Your excuse that “maybe we should be less polite” is pretty lame since the people your trying to reach is definitely NOT Mr Hood. I noticed you did the same thing a couple of weeks ago in a similar post.

    Keep running the stories…..just leave the names out.

  14. BFP

    Hi twwifos

    Mr. Hood’s name was in the Nation and the Advocate before it was here.

    That’s where we got his name as the driver of the other vehicle. We don’t see a problem with a blog printing his name when it has already appeared in the regular news media.

  15. twwifos

    BFP: As my mother used to say, “Just because “they” are doing it does not mean that it’s the right thing to do”!

    Many people (including myself) don’t read those other rags and this is the only place where someone like that will read this story. Once the media latches on to you, it’s over. Anyone remember Richard Jewell? If not, just goggle his name and see what comes up.

    You can make your point without including any names.

  16. The Pious one

    Breaking News

    The Mighty Gabby just returned his 2010 Calypso crown to the NCF….on the grounds that the judges erred in his favour.

    At least that is commendable !

  17. Vivien Lapham

    Quote [Trying to understand how the breathalizer will be any help in this case and in some other cases when the driver is dead? surely using the breathalizer on Mr Lashley is not of any help since he was the passenager……Dont get me wrong, I know the breathalizer can be of a great help, say the driver survive and is stable enough to under go the test but not if the driver dies.]

    You are missing an important point, the breathalyser is not only a tool for proving guilt or innocence but it is a valuable deterrent. Its introduction will never stop drink driving totally but if people understand they will lose their licence it will greatly reduce the amount of drunks on the road.

  18. I don’t know if either of the drivers had been drinking before the accident, unfortunately accidents do happen. However, the traffic, the narrow roads and the speeding in Barbados lead to accidents. I won’t even mention the reckless driving of the ZR’s
    Add alcohol to this.………

  19. akabozik

    There is no fear of the police catching you driving drunk because half the time the police couldn’t pass a breath test their own self. Crop Over time cricket and road tennis aren’t the national sports anymore. The national sports become drinking dancing and something else! 😉

  20. The Watcher

    Another call for the breath-analyser?
    Does anyone , better yet, has anyone ever researched the way that these man-made machines can be easily & cheaply defeated?
    More tax dollars flushed for frivolity?
    Listen and listen good!
    People need to be more responsible. Period!
    That can’t be legislated and the passing of another nonsense law to burden the tax-payers without repealing some of the foolishness already on the books won’t solve the problem either.
    The breathalyser is a Solution insearch of a problem!
    Now go find the real solution!

  21. Pingback: How many more have to die before Barbados gets modern breathalyzer laws? « Barbados Free Press