Breadwinners gone - More than 50 children in Portland lose a parent
Published: Tuesday | December 23, 2008
MORE THAN 50 children lost at least one parent in the tragic motor-vehicle accident in the Rio Grande Valley in Portland Friday night.
Daryl Vaz, state minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, told The Gleaner yesterday afternoon that an assessment had been done and the 14 killed, when a truck plunged into a ravine, were overall, determined to be responsible for the large number of children.
"One victim (Carmen Leslie) had seven children and two grandchildren who she was responsible for," Vaz revealed.
Assistance for children
He said the Government has plans to provide for these children and to ensure that their basic needs are met.
"What we have so far discovered is that most of the victims were the breadwinners for their families. I will be meeting with several Government agencies this morning to ensure that we work out a long-term programme to assist the children," Vaz added.
The junior minister and West Portland member of Parliament said he would be hosting a media briefing this morning where he would announce the details of a fund being established at the National Commercial Bank to assist the children of the victims.
Donations and pledges
"Already, I have received several calls from individuals and private-sector entities pledging to assist the families of the victims as the country responds to one of its worst road tragedies," he said.
Vaz will be back in Portland today to start discussions on the funeral arrangements for the victims.
Agriculture Minister Dr Christopher Tufton is also slated to visit the quiet farming community of Millbank, which was home to eight of the persons who lost their lives when the truck carrying market produce and mostly vendors plunged over a precipice in the vicinity of Dam Bridge in Portland.