STREET BEAT: Haunted, or bad driving?

marciadottin, marciadottin@nationnews.com

Added 31 January 2014

streetbeatbloc

IS THERE a supernatural influence behind accidents along the Gibbes/Mullins/Road View stretch of St Peter? Or is it simply a case of bad driving practices and obscured visibility? Frank Holder is a long-time advocate for change in the area as he said he was sick and tired of seeing people lose their lives on that stretch of road. He has an active petition going outlining changes he thinks should be made. “I returned to Barbados in 2008 and I just got fed up with the accidents, some of which happened right in front my house,” said the Mullins resident. So Holder decided to start placing the issue on his Mullins Bay Blog – a blog which he said was originally made to highlight the beach erosion. The accident aspect, however, quickly took centre spot as the accident fatality rate continued to climb in the area. This was when he started the petition on change.org. “People were getting hurt and killed, including tourists, so I started the petition. I even talked to former Member of Parliament Rawle Eastmond and current MP Edmund Hinkson about it and got them to write letters on our behalf but the only thing we have noticed changed is the centre line has been demarcated,” he said. Holder said there had been more than 20 accidents in the area over the past decade, claiming the lives of men, women and children and it was time for something to be done. He outlined problems such as guard walls and hedges impairing vision around corners and the open gutters in Mullins as problems, as well as the driving habits of public service vehicle (PSV) operators. “People have to avoid the gutters and traffic. I remember an old woman was hit by a car trying to go around an open gutter. “The PSVs are a law unto themselves, which is why I suggested a speed limiter in my petition although I am not sure how feasible that would be here. The bottom line is that I would like there to be no overtaking on this stretch,” he said. Despite the seriousness of the issue, Holder said it had been slow going concerning the petition. He said he had secured around 50 signatures but was looking for at least 500. But is there another reason for the accidents? A woman, who requested anonymity, said she had been hearing stories concerning ghosts and a jinx on the area and she was starting to believe them. “The old people think this area is haunted, from Mullins to Gibbes, and I am starting to believe it’s true. There’s an old burial ground out here and people say the spirits are still around; too many people are dying,” she said. She had even heard stories of people veering to avoid pedestrians who mysteriously disappeared. Holder said there were a lot of cholera deaths in the area many decades ago so he could see where the rumours might arise but he was firm in the belief that it was bad driving and improper infrastructure to blame. Nevertheless, he said there was a house nearby which had been abandoned which people thought was haunted, adding many of the accidents happened to occur near there. Upon investigation, it was discovered the house was not empty after all. A man, who declined to give his name, was living inside. He said allegations of ghosts were nonsense. “The accidents are due to negligence; it is not about any haunting. People die and get into accidents everywhere [in Barbados]. I have been here since last year and I never experience nothing so,” he said. A sea craft operator, who also declined identification, said the road had many corners so when people reached the straight portion they tended to want to speed up. He said accidents along Mullins and Road View were nothing new as they had been happening for decades. On Monday, a minibus flipped over along Gibbes, leaving 18 passengers – including two children – injured. Five of the injured were listed in critical condition with the most seriously hurt being the driver, Wendell Piyotte, of Upper Mount Standfast. On December 2012, two teenagers and an infant were killed when a minibus and a car collided along the same Gibbes road. Sherece Alleyne, 20; her son Keon, 14 months old and 17-year-old Nikira Harewood lost their lives.  carlosatwell@nationnews.com

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