An MP in St Kitts and Nevis has described the death of a 20-year-old man over the weekend as “not only heartbreaking but also very disturbing.”
In a statement on Monday, Konris Maynard said that the death of Tau Johnson is an “opportunity for us as a nation to take a professional response to this most unfortunate turn of events in order to improve public trust and confidence in the public services of our country.”
“Without casting aspersions on anyone involved in the incident, it is my belief that the emergency officials involved in the incident should be suspended with pay pending a thorough investigation of the incident to ascertain if proper procedures were or were not followed,” said the West Basseterre MP.
He also said all emergency response protocols must be immediately reviewed to ensure they are at industry standards.
Maynard also called for the immediate re-training and recertification of all emergency medical service staff.
“The police must use this as a toolbox exercise to reinforce updated related protocols,” he said.
“The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the police, should commission a PR campaign to sensitise and educate the general public about general emergency protocols such as – but not limited to – giving way to emergency response personnel or handling someone in an accident.”
A police statement said Tau Johnson, who turned 20 last Saturday, ran a red light before losing control of his motorcycle when he attempted to evade a police patrol.
The police force were forced to deny rumours that an officer knocked Johnson offer his bike – stating the vehicle which was pursuing Johnson stayed at a distance.
Maynard represents the constituency where Johnson lives.
“Regardless of events preceding the accident that has left a family in tatters, with a mother and father without a son, brothers and sisters without a brother, aunts and uncles without a nephew, the Buckley’s community without a friend, our main focus should always be the preservation of life,” said Maynard.
“It is not up to us, whether police, EMS or bystander, to determine how someone should be punished if we perceive them to be in breach of the laws.
In St Kitts and Nevis, we abide by the rule of law and everyone is entitled to due process whether you are a priest or a young man being chased by police.”