Opposition Leader Mia Mottley says it’s unfair that the mother of deceased 11-year-old Elijah Holder-Phillips is the only one facing criminal charges following his untimely death nearly three years ago.
The boy’s mother, 33-year-old Felisha Osula Holder, of Hopefield, Christ Church, was the driver of the vehicle, which struck a sign post before overturning at the entrance of the Villages at Coverley on June 26, 2015, killing her son on the spot.
As a result, she appeared in court here last Wednesday and was released on $7,500 bail with one surety on a charge of dangerous driving.
However, addressing a BLP meeting at Briar Hall, Christ Church last night, Mottley was adamant that the young mother was not solely responsible and as such she should not be the only one criminally charged for her son’s death.
“How she can face the law courts alone and the person who built that obstruction on the highway does not have to face a single [charge] in this country?” Mottley asked in reference to the developer Mark Maloney, who has been a persistent thorn in the BLP’s side over the past six years in particular.
In fact, their criticisms over his erection of a concrete abutment that extends from the Villages onto the ABC Highway grew louder with the death of Elijah, who was on his way home from his school’s graduation when he met his tragic end.
“How do you think that ordinary Bajans feel tonight to know that . . . a mother having lost her son on the day in which he left primary school to go to Queen’s College? . . . How this woman can even face tomorrow morning?” Mottley asked.
Reaching back to the issue that her party has long had with the abutment, she said, “the man who built and the company who built that obstruction on the highway, was told that it had to move”.
“The Chief Technical Officer [in the Town Planning Department], on the 7th of March, 2012, said the design as it stands not only encroaches on the road shoulder, but also the road reserve as well as the land which is needed for any future expansion of the highway, which, given the rate of increase in traffic volumes, will soon be necessary,” Mottley added.
Holding high some documents which she said substantiated her contention, the Opposition Leader said that on March 6, 2015, the then Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office had written the developers at Coverley complaining that the “access egress located within the acquisition corridor of the ABC Highway has not been altered as requested . . . to allow tanker trucks to use the access egress which will exacerbate an already hazardous traffic situation”.
Mottley also spoke of the Deputy Chief Planning Officer writing the Permanent Secretary to say that the entrance was not built in compliance with the regulatory requirements.
“How does that gentleman [Maloney] not face action, and how has the Town Planning Department not gone up there to dig it up?” the BLP leader asked.
Mottley proceeded to add to her growing list of campaign promises by assuring supporters that “any enforcement notice on the highway shall be carried out as one of the first acts of a Barbados Labour Party Government because you cannot have technical officers saying that something must happen and the you ignore it”.
She also promised that five BLP lawyers, who are also candidates for the 2018 elections, would defend the 33-year-old mother in her ongoing legal battle.
“She shall not be going into that law court alone . . . . This Barbados Labour Party will help represent this young mother because I believe it is a travesty of social justice,” Mottley declared, while naming Kerrie Symmonds, Wilfred Abrahams, Gregory Nicholls, Ralph Thorne, QC, and Dale Marshall, QC, as the woman’s legal representatives.