NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A family in Eleuthera is mourning the loss of their second family member this year who died as a result of a traffic incident.
Hatchet Bay resident Jamal McNair, 30, reportedly fell off of the back of a truck as it overtook another vehicle and died on impact.
This year the Police Traffic Department has recorded 53 traffic fatalities, with four taking place over the weekend.
Four men died in separate incidents in New Providence, Grand Bahama, and Eleuthera.
Jamal’s sister Angela McNair said her family is overwhelmed with grief as the loss comes just seven months after her older brother died in a traffic accident.
She said she was told that speed was a factor in Jamal’s death as she reflected on the memory of her brother who passed away on Sunday.
“He was a loving brother, a loving uncle a loving son to my mother. He was a caring person […] He was a loving brother, no problem at all, hard-working, he loved to work,” McNair said.
Jamal’s older brother passed away on April 30.
According to relatives, his body was discovered on the road and the family has not gotten an explanation as to what took place.
With the lack of closure from the previous incident and this recent death, McNair said her 65-year-old mother is inconsolable.
She said the morning of Jamal’s death, he had used her phone to call his coworkers as he planned on heading into the Gregory Town area.
It was there he hitched a ride to take advantage of the annual free dental day.
“My mum jump in the car because she wanted to go see for herself. She went down there and as my brother and another friend of ours was passing. I ran to the car and say I wanted to see, and I met my mother just sitting on the side of his body and crying and when I went there and I lifted up the sheet and I really see it was him, it was painful just to see how he bruised in the road.” McNair said.
Community leader and pastor Ricardo Dean said that he was in church when they got the news and made it a priority to get to the scene with the family members as quickly as he could.
“My main thing was trying to get to see Jamal’s mother Betty, because this is the second time this happened to Betty for this year; she lost a son earlier in the year to a traffic accident so I just wanted to get to Betty just to hug her and say Betty we continue to praying for you and we’re here to support you.”
Dean said that the quiet north Eleutherin community is in shock after hearing the news.
McNair said that she and her family appreciate the support from neighbors, many of which have come to offer their condolences to the family.
With the uptick in traffic fatalities in Eleuthera, Dean pointed to several factors that he believes may be contributing to the increase.
“For the longest time we’ve had potholes, for the longest time we’ve had different overgrowths on the road, speeding happens to be a way of life on the island and the island is long 110 miles long so everybody is trying to get somewhere in a hurry and as a result of that things happen,” he said.
“You know you drive at night, you know people go with dim lights and so there are some things happening that needs the attention of the traffic department, needs the attention of those responsible for transport because even the type of vehicles that are on the streets you know the big lorries you know there’s so much things happening on the streets that give us caution to how we drive on the streets on a regular basis.
“Jamal was on the back of a truck,” he continued.
“I’m not sure if its illegal to ride on the back of a truck […] so yes there needs to be some attention given to how we operate our vehicles on the streets of these islands.”
The pastor underscored the need for an aggressive safety campaign.
“We should be able to see the police on the streets on a daily basis, not just trying to book us trying to warn us trying to help us in terms of how to use our vehicles effectively and properly. I think if that happens in our communities […] I think that would help somewhat in our communities,” Dean said.
With no provided bus service, people on the islands often have to hitch hike to get to work, to the store, to bpl, etc. Maybe the padyors could use the church buses on weekdays to provide a route each from their community to the next and back twice a day.
Seems like the government corporation is looking for an excuse to have more police goons blocking traffic, extorting bahamians and harassing bahamians more aggressively.