Following is the full statement released by former Prime Minister Patrick Manning announcing his decision to decline the nomination for the Order of the Republic:...
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Family cries for justice
Sydney Barnes was a 69-year-old retiree whose life ended on January 30, moments after he delivered a meal of cassava and steamed fish for his 75-year-old neighbour Doreen Hazell. Barnes, his family recalled at their Ever Green Crescent, Lopinot yesterday, was a fun loving, generous man whose strange laughter could light up a room. Hazell told the T&T Guardian that Barnes did not deserve to die the way he did, pinned beneath a white Hinda Civic, driven by a police officer, in a drain just outside her Dunderhill Arouca home.
Hazell recalled the sequence of events leading up to Barnes’ death. She remembered hearing a loud explosion and then a scream for help and finding Barnes in a drain with a car on top of him. After that, she did not eat for days, she said.
According to reports, around 2.45 pm on January 30, Barnes was standing on the eastern side of the road when the vehicle, on the western side, heading north, veered and slammed into a nearby standpipe before knocking down the pensioner, breaking his two legs and one arm. Barnes was pinned beneath the car, along with his bicycle. An autopsy said he died from multiple blunt trauma injuries.
Barnes’ two children, Candice and Corey, say all they want now is justice. An emotional Candice Barnes recalled seeing her father take his last breath as he lay in the drain surrounded by his blood and murky water. She said to this date investigators into the accident have not visited the family. She added that her father stayed there for almost 90 minutes. “Life in Trinidad have no value. He was in the drain there, like if he was a dog,” a teary eyed Candice said.
The family say that they would be going to the Police Complaints Authority this week as they are fearful that the investigation may be swept under the rug. The T&T Guardian was told by officers that the matter is being investigated. A male relative of the Barnes and a fellow police officer confirmed with the T&T Guardian that the driver of the car that killed Barnes is a police officer attached to the Besson Street Police Station who is still on active duty.