Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 10th 2014 Contents A5
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
JENSEN LA VENDE
One day shy of three weeks after being shot
in the forehead, four-year-old Sarah Headley
walked out of the Eric Williams Medical Science
Complex, Mt Hope, yesterday, after two weeks
in the Intensive Care Unit.
Nevertheless, Sarah has lost the sight in her
Outside the hospital yesterday, Sarah s mother,
Alisha Headley, said she was excited to have her
child back home after her ordeal and was very
happy she was alive, adding that despite the loss
of sight in her right eye things could have been
much worse for her first-born.
"I feeling real happy that Sarah is coming
home," she said. "That day was the worst. Thank
God, (I am) feeling so happy today that she is
going home. Thank God for doctors and nurs-
"I was always praying and other people were
praying so I had the belief that she was coming
As her mother spoke, Sarah, who still has a
bullet lodged in her neck, stood in silence, smiling
occasionally at the media cameras. Doctors say
removing the bullet from Sarah s neck would
pose a greater risk to her than leaving it there.
Her mother said her daughter was a very lucky
child as doctors told her the child s brain could
have been affected because of the path the bullet
She said her daughter was talking and every-
thing seemed normal, adding that she "got back
"I feel like she was given a second chance. First
thing we would do when we reach home is to
get something to eat and look at television,"
Sarah was hit by an unknown gunman who
opened fire while she and her mother were in a
taxi around 8.15 pm on May 20 while they were
on the way to their home at Upper L Anse Mitan
The gunman was reportedly shooting at the
occupants of another car.
A week after suffering severe head trau-
ma in a car accident, five-month-old Jes-
sica Mohammed died at hospital.
As 21-year-old Antonia Beckles-
Mohammed went to check on her daughter
at the Intensive Care Unit of the San Fer-
nando General Hospital on Sunday, she was
given the news that the child was officially
Within hours of doing further tests, doc-
tors "pulled the plug" on the baby, whom
relatives described as the family s favourite.
Jessica was snuggled in her mother s arms
while they were heading to their home at
Ramlal Trace, St Francis Village, Erin, on
June 2 when tragedy struck.
Police said around 9 am, the family,
including Jessica s father Selly Mohammed,
31, was in a Toyota Cressida driven by their
friend Mark Ramdass, 27, when he lost con-
trol of the car on the SS Erin Road, Santa
The car collided head-on with a Hiab
flatbed truck. So severe was the impact that
Jessica slipped from her mother s arms and
crashed into the dashboard before landing
between the front seats.
Doctors said Jessica suffered a fractured
skull which caused a bruise on her brain
and the development of fluid in her head.
Beckles-Mohammed suffered a broken
nose and a few cuts to the face, while
Mohammed, an operater at Pioneer Con-
struction Ltd, has two broken bones in his
jaw and a dislocated leg. Ramdass, also of
Erin, suffered a broken kneecap and several
broken bones in his leg.
When Santa Flora police corporals
Seecharan and Sobie arrived and saw the
unconscious child they rushed her and Beck-
les-Mohammed to the Siparia Health Centre.
Mohammed and Ramdass were also sub-
sequently taken there.
All four were then transferred to the
SFGH, where doctors said Jessica remained
in a coma until she died.
Shooting victim, 4,
back home; loses
sight in right eye
Antonia Beckles-Mohammed looks at a
photo of baby Jessica at her home at
Ramlal Trace, St Francis Village, yesterday.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Sarah Headley, centre, leaves the Eric Williams
Medical Complex, Mt Hope, with her mother
Alisha and grandfather, Conan St Hillaire,
yesterday. Four-year-old Sarah was shot in the
forehead on May 20 when a gunman opened fire
at a car in which she and her mother were
passengers. PHOTO: JENSEN LA VENDE
The head of the Public Service, Reynold Cooper,
yesterday gave permanent secretary in the Tourism
Ministry Juliana Johan-Boodram seven days to
explain her absence from the country last week.
Cooper was unaware of her absence from the coun-
try until it was reported in the Sunday Guardian.
Johan-Boodram left on a chartered flight to Argenti-
na to see a friendly football game between the host
nation and T&T.
She said she forgot to inform Cooper of her absence
for the four-day period.
Former head of the public service Reginald Dumas
on Sunday called for disciplinary action to be taken
against Johan-Boodram if her explanation for being
absent without the knowledge and approval of Cooper
was not satisfactory.
Cooper told the T&T Guardian yesterday he wrote
to her yesterday morning "requesting an explanation
for the visit to Argentina and the arrangements that
were in place for the performance of the duties of
the PS and accounting officer during her absence."
When he gets the explanation, it will be sent to
the Public Service Commission (PSC). Cooper said
he had informed PSC chairman Dr Marjorie Thorpe
of those developments.
Public Service head writes PS on Argentina trip
Juliana gets week
to explain absence
Baby girl dies one week after South accident
Cooper also commented on the
absence from the country of the
permanent secretary in the Ministry
of Sport Ashwin Creed.
Cooper, who is also permanent
secretary to the Prime Minister, said
Creed told him he had applied for
additional vacation leave.
Creed was out of the country for
almost a month and was expected
to return to work on May 26 but
reportedly sought an extension and
Cooper said he had requested a copy
of that application from the ministry.
Cooper said he received a letter
from the Ministry of Sport, dated
June 9, saying the minister (Anil
Roberts) had agreed to Creed's
extending his absence from May 24
to June 30.
Cooper said he also wrote to
Finance and Economy Minister Larry
Howai asking him to appoint the
deputy permanent secretary as the
accounting officer at the Sport
Ministry until June 30.
Creed's absence comes while a
probe is being done into one of his
ministry's major programmes, the
Life Sport initiative.
There have been widespread
allegations of corruption in the
programme, including a claim by
National Security Minister Gary
Griffith that there was
misappropriation of funds and that
it was fraught with criminals.
But the programme director at
Life Sport, Cornelius Prince, told a
news conference last month that
Griffith's claim was "a figment of his
imagination" and insisted the
initiative was transparent and above
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar last month moved the
programme from the Ministry of
Sport to the National Security
Ministry and Roberts said he was
happy about that change.
SPORT PS STILL AWAY
A melancholic mood filled the family's home
yesterday as they reminisced about Jessica's
Beckles-Mohammed said: "She used to laugh
with everybody, especially when her grandfather
called her name and held her hand, she would
laugh and hide her face. When my brother-in-
law called her 'sweetie,' she would laugh,
because she liked everybody."
Recalling the accident, she said they had just
visited a friend in Santa Flora. While returning
home they passed a car parked on the roadside
and a truck approaching on the same side as
the car pulled into their lane.
"I could remember getting up in the car and I
picked up my baby and was calling out to
anybody to take her and rush her to the
hospital. Then a policeman came and took us up
and rushed us to Siparia Health Centre."
Her brother-in-law Kumar Mohammed said
before doctors disconnected the life support
they showed them a diagram of a healthy
infant's brain and compared it to Jessica's
Cpl Seecharan is continuing investigations.
Jessica was the fifth infant to die under tragic
circumstances in recent times.
Other recent infant deaths
• Matai Phillip, ten months, found dead in car
seat at a Chaguanas daycare centre on June 6.
• Jemimah Agard, five years, drowned in YMCA
pool in Port-of-Spain after a swimming class
• Kriston Gonzales, 23 months, drowned in
religious pond at family's Mayaro home on June
• Javier de Freitas, three years, died in a house
fire at his Sea Lots home on May 28.
• Jaedon Cudjoe, 17 months, died of
hyperthermia after being forgotten in car for
eight hours on May 13.
SHE MADE EVERYBODY LAUGH
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