Family has questions for GDF following soldier’s death


The family of Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Sergeant, Deslyn Nicholson has many questions, particularly about the reported absence of necessary safety mechanisms and protocols during the military walk that resulted in the fatal accident along the Linden/Soesdyke Highway Wednesday night.

“I have some questions that I would like to be answered by the Guyana Defence Force.

“I understand that it’s an annual walk. However, my question is were there any safety mechanism for these ranks on the road? Were they wearing reflective vests? Were they escorted by a police or maybe the GDF vehicle or something?”

“They should have been wearing eye visibility clothing… based on the photograph that I saw, I didn’t see no flashing lights, I didn’t see her wearing any reflective vest or anything highlighting using the road at nights,” Wonnetta Nicholson, a cousin of the dead Sergeant told the News Room on Thursday.

Nicholson was among a number of ranks who were participating in the GDF’s 30km annual walk which commenced at approximately 17:50 hrs on Wednesday from Red Ground, Timehri to Camp Stephenson.

Wonnetta Nicholson

The accident occurred around 21:00hrs.

Nicholson and two of her colleagues; Staff Sergeant Kwame Reid and Lance Corporal Kelly Jackson were struck by a truck while in the vicinity of the Splashmins Fun Park.

It was later confirmed by the Guyana Police Force that Nicholson and the soldiers were not wearing any reflective vest neither were there any safety mechanism to indicate that a walk was ongoing on the usually dark Linden/Soesdyke highway.

This, Police Headquarters said was confirmed by the 26-year-old truck driver, a resident of Golden Grove, East Bank Demerara.

“They (soldiers) were allegedly not wearing any reflecting vests, lights, or other warning appliances, and at the time, the area was dark due to the absence of street lights,” Police Headquarters said in a statement.

As such, Wonnetta told the News Room that the family believes that the accident was caused due to negligence on behalf of the organizers of the walk and by extension the army.

“It is negligence, yes. I live in Linden. The highway is very dark in the nights and they were wearing dark coloured clothing… the truck driver is saying he didn’t see them because the area was dark,” Wonnetta said.

According to the police, the driver alleged that he was heading south along the road when he “suddenly” saw the three ranks who were dressed in dark-coloured clothing walking three abreast on the road.

Upon noticing this, Police said the driver applied brakes to avoid colliding with the soldiers but due to the short distance, his efforts were futile.

Nicholson and the two other soldiers were picked up and taken to the Diamond Diagnostic Center, where Nicholson was pronounced dead.

The two other ranks were treated and sent away.

Police said the truck driver took a breathalyzer test and no trace of alcohol was detected. He remains in custody and is assisting with the investigation.

In keeping with its Standard Operating Procedures, the GDF said a Board of Inquiry will be conducted into the accident.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.