Friends of the Youths of T&T hosted a celebration for Leroy “Black Stalin” Calliste’s 75th birthday, at the South National Academy for Performing Arts on Saturday.
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Mother of twins in road accident: I had bad feeling about the driver
Two mothers who lost their daughters in a traffic accident on Sunday morning, yesterday pleaded with parents and the authorities to take steps to save their children. Mothers Desiree Waddel and Peggy Ann Riley said they did not know how to move on with their lives. Riley called on Government to increase the age for citizens to gain driver’s permits from 17 to 25, while Waddel urged parents to refrain from putting their children’s lives in the hands of young drivers.
Riley said: “I think the age for people getting their licences should be reviewed. I think they should look at that because whether or not there are skills involved, look at what happened. “Whether the truth is that driver was drinking or what have you, I think it should start at 25. Young people are not capable and they are not responsible.” Waddel added: “Parents, don’t trust young people to drive your children. Go pick them up. Get off your bed. Don’t care about the time they call you, get off your bed and go for them.” Waddel, the grieving mother of the twin sisters — Khadijah and Khertima Taylor — who died in Sunday’s crash in San Fernando, said she warned the driver of the car who took her daughters to the birthday celebration on Saturday night about speeding minutes after they left her home.
Waddel said the driver did not heed her caution and it resulted in the deaths of her 18-year-old daughters and their friend Kafiya Gill. Grimacing as she spoke to the T&T Guardian at the San Fernando Mortuary, Waddel said she called Garcia on the phone after she saw them “drive off in a haste.” “When they were leaving my house he sped off and I called them one time on the phone and I said ‘Hello, tell that boy don’t be driving you all so hard. Do you hear what I am saying?’ They said ‘yes aunty, we told him.’ Look at what happened now,” Waddel said. She said she even called them at the club to ask whether the driver was consuming any alcohol but was told he was not. “I call them in the club, I text them, I asked if he was drinking and Teenisha said no he was not. I said to tell him that if anything should happen, I would kill him. So he better bring you guys home safe and bless you all.”
The girls were on their way home in a Mazda 3 after attending a birthday party for their schoolmate Sabrina Ali at the Metro Nightlife Club, off the Gulf View Link Road. Police said the car, driven by University of the West Indies student Anthony Balkissoon, reportedly slammed into the median and flipped several times before landing, facing upwards, between the pillars of a bridge at the Cross Crossing interchange. Both sisters, of Jack Street, Marabella, died on the spot, while Gill, 19, of Cedar Drive, Pleasantville, died on the surgeon’s table. Two other passengers, Teenisha Garcia, 19, of Vistabella, and Akinton Derrick, 22, of Point-a-Pierre, remained warded at the San Fernando General Hospital yesterday. Garcia was in a critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit where she was being treated for a broken hip and internal bleeding. Balkissoon, 20, of Point-a-Pierre was treated and discharged.
The twins were supposed to complete their Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examinations (Cape) yesterday and Waddel said they were excited to go dress-shopping for their June 27 graduation. She said she only allowed the girls to go out because they had studied hard. “My girls were angels, no stress.” Students, their parents and teachers of St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando, where the sisters were pupils, held a candlelight vigil at Harris Promenade on Sunday night. Monsignor Christian Perreira, who was at the vigil, said he lost two angels. He also gave a special prayer service during the morning school assembly yesterday as students and staff tried to come to terms with the difficult situation. “We had counsellors come in to speak to the girls who were doing exams this evening. The most difficult thing for them was to see the empty seats where Khadijah and Khertima were to be seated,” he said. Gill’s mother, Peggy Ann Riley, a medical orderly at the SFGH, said she had her last UWI exam last week and had started working at the South West Regional Health Authority. “I could not have asked for a better daughter. No problems, she was a brilliant and lovely girl, her mother said.