Desperate resident asks: Don’t Bexon lives matter?
On Monday I was discussing with a friend the carnage on our roads. I suggested that the authorities seemed more interested in increasing licensing and motor vehicle fees as a means of raising more government revenue. In the meantime the ‘road kill’ carries on, unchecked. Our discussion naturally shifted quickly to the Bexon Highway that has seen more than a few deadly collisions. I offered an admittedly sick joke: “Maybe money to build the highway came from the devil—and now he is claiming souls as payment for the debt.”
On Tuesday, as I relaxed in front of my TV, my friend Whatsapp-ed me. “You watching the news?” I said I was. Actually, I was watching a sobbing taxi driver whose vehicle had mowed down an infant on the Bexon highway hours earlier.
One week into a new school term, that is to say, in January of this year, four people including a businesswoman and her grandsons perished on the Bexon highway after their truck ran off the road and crashed into a utility pole. Dead at the scene were the driver, 54-year-old Thomas Arthur, his girlfriend, 58-year-old Margretia Sarah Antoine and Antoine’s grandson, six-year-old David Agard. Antoine’s other grandson, fouryear-old Benjamin Agard, later succumbed to his injuries at hospital.
In May a young man riding a motorcycle collided with a pick-up truck on the same road and died. The road, according to residents and eyewitnesses, has been the site of countless vehicular accidents that have left persons seriously injured at the very least. Residents say countless unreported accidents occur on the road; that only the deadliest make the news.
Just last month the highway again grabbed public attention when two vehicles—a dump truck and a car—collided, leaving several persons seriously injured. And now, following Tuesday’s fatal accident that took the life of three-year-old Kronus Deleon, Bexon residents are saying enough is enough.
The STAR has since learned that Deleon’s mother, who recently had a baby, had allowed her ten-year-old daughter to pick up the threeyear-old from school. When the bus arrived at the stop, the older sibling proceeded to hand the driver EC$20, at which point both the driver and girl were distracted.
At the time, the mother was waiting on the opposite side of the road with the intention of crossing over to greet her children but the three-year-old ran across to meet her. It was at that point tragedy struck: the taxi driver, blind-sided by the parked school bus, struck Kronus.
Since then there have been the usual calls for preventive measures to be taken. President of the National Council of Public Transportation, Godfrey Ferdinand, has called for the issue to be taken more seriously. Ferdinand has suggested the government create control barriers along the highway to force individuals to use a pedestrian crossing.
He pointed to the model used in Rodney Bay where, following a fatal accident near the entrance to the Marina, the SLHTA contributed funds for the construction of speed bumps, guard rails and a pedestrian crossing.
“But what about us?” asked Rosemary, a Bexon resident. “Don’t Bexon lives matter? Why is it taking so long for the authorities to implement something on the Bexon Highway that would reduce the number of fatal and other accidents?” A number of residents of Bexon say they plan to petition the government and their area’s parliamentary representative Guy Joseph.
Officers from the traffic department of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) say they have made several recommendations to the Ministry of Infrastructure with regard to the Bexon Highway. Alas to no avail. Kronus Deleon’s father is a member of RSLPF, attached to the SSU!
The deadly Bexon Highway.