Fmr. Army Chief suspends campaign appearances over death of cyclist

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Former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Rear Admiral (Rt’d) Gary Best says he has suspended his appearances at all public campaigns of the APNU+AFC coalition following the death of national cyclist, 41-year-old Jude Bentley whom he struck down and killed Saturday.

A statement from Best was posted on the Facebook page of his attorney James Bond Tuesday and later emailed to the media.

“As a result of the February 8, 2020 accident that I was involved in, and the subsequent loss of the life of Mr. Jude Bentley, I’m suspending, out of reverence for the dead and respect for his family, my public campaign appearances,” the statement read.

Prior to the accident, Best had been speaking at a number of campaign meetings for the incumbent coalition.

He is an executive member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and is a candidate for APNU+AFC in the March 2, 2020, general elections.

Best in his statement noted that his suspension of appearing at the campaign meetings will “allow the investigations to proceed fairly, professionally and without hints of interference.”

“Once again, to the family of Jude Bentley, my heart pains me for your loss, which I deeply regret and wish you can find strength in the Lord at this most difficult time. I will continue to uplift you all up in my prayers.”

Best was released on $100,000 station bail two days after the accident.

Best was in Police custody at the Kitty Police Station since Saturday but was admitted to the cardiac unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital on Sunday morning after he complained of feeling unwell.

Best was driving black motor jeep PRR 8182 at around 04:30hrs Saturday when he struck down Bentley on the Rupert Craig Highway, in the vicinity of the Russian Embassy turn, killing him on the spot.

Police reported that Best was over the legal alcohol limit at the time of the accident. The News Room understands that Best’s alcohol limit was 0.85% micrograms. The legal limit is 0.35% micrograms.

Best reportedly told the Police that the cyclist “appeared in front of him” and he applied brakes when he swerved southwards to avoid a collision but the right side front of his vehicle collided with the cyclist before slamming into a utility pole.

Family and friends of Bentley disputed Best’s claims that the cyclist was not wearing reflectors at the time of the accident.

Bentley leaves to mourn his wife and seven children.

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