OCA says death of Prickly Pole student not linked to demonstration against Lisa Hanna

News post October 7, 2015

(L) Akella Lewis, the child who died. (R) ROBB-ODDMAN… sacked as chairman of Prickly Pole Primary School.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) says that the cause of the death of 11-year-old Akella Lewis of the Prickly Pole Primary School in St Ann is a medical matter, and not linked to a demonstration against MP for South East St Ann, Lisa Hanna, which involved some parents.

In an Interim Report, based on its investigations into the September 18 incident and tabled in the House of Representatives yesterday, OCA however said, that the medical issue can only be conclusively resolved by a post mortem examination and other attendant medical matters.

“At the time of this report, the result of the post mortem examination remains inconclusive, and as such, a definitive conclusion is not yet available,” it said.

“Despite its absence, however, the legal considerations as to what constitute causation in fact and remoteness of damage, will be discussed within the context of preliminary answering the question that many persons seem to be interested in: (that is) can the demonstration and/or its organizers be properly seen to be the cause of Akella’s death?” It argued.

The report concluded that there was no causal link that exists between Akella’s death and the organizers of the demonstration in Claremont against Lisa Hanna on September 18, or its participants. Hanna was at the time being challenged as the PNP’s candidate for South East St Ann by Lydia Richards, Councillor for the Bensonton division.

“Akella was not in Claremont at any time during the protest and was not, as is contended by some quarters, hit by any bus which led to her subsequent demise,” it also stated.

Then chairman of the school board, Vinnette Robb-Oddman, who is also the PNP’s councillor for Calderwood division, was a victim of the incident. Her appointment was revoked by Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, after she was accused of organizing the protest against Hanna in Claremont, which included parents and students from the school.

Organisers of the protest said the objective was to demand an answer from Hanna about money that she had allegedly allocated for the paving of the schoolyard. Hanna later denied making the statement.

Three days after the incident, the Child Development Agency (CDA) reported that its investigation showed that 19 children from the school were transported by buses to participate in the demonstration, which was said to be organized by persons opposed to Hanna’s representation of the constituency.

Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness, said that the integrity of the administration of the school had been compromised by political interests and considerations which “gave rise to circumstances in which a child enrolled at the school lost her life”.



Pubished By: The Observer

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