SIMPSON BAY:— Police and ambulance personnel rushed to the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE) and cordoned the entire area as a bus belonging to a car rental ran over a young child. SMN News learnt that the bus belongs to AVIS car rental. It is also understood that the victim is a young boy between the ages of 2 to 3 years old. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson confirmed that an AVIS shuttle bus ran over a young boy between the ages 2 to 3 years old who died on the spot. Henson said the child is a resident/born on St. Maarten and he is of Haitian decent while police are busy investigating the circumstances of the accident. Henson said the accident took place in the vicinity of the departure hall and not arrival. So far no details on the identity of the victim have not yet been released. However, SMN News learnt that the family has been residing on St. Maarten for a long period of time.
The police spokesman said the accident occurred in the area where the taxis park up, he said the police doctor pronounced the young child dead around 10am on Saturday morning. An angry businessman at the Airport said that several of them spoke to the chief security of PJIAE on several occasions telling him that the double parking in front of the airport will get people killed and that the taxi dispatchers and airport security should do something about the double parking. The businessmen said that their complaints went on deaf ears, and today the life of a young child was snapped out because of the carelessness from the Airport security and dispatchers that allow taxis and other vehicles to double park in front of the airport terminal. At 10am the body was removed from the spot where the accident took place while a team from the forensic department and traffic department of KPSM is still on the scene gathering evidence and speaking to eye witnesses. So far the prosecutor and detectives on the scene have not decided whether or not they will arrest the parent of the young lad for negligence that led to the death of a toddler and the driver of the AVIS shuttle bus for reckless driving. Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson said police have two persons in custody assisting them with the investigations. Henson said so far no one has been arrested. SMN News learnt the two persons in custody are the driver of the Shuttle and the father of the victim.
SMN News further learned that workers at the Princess Juliana International Airport began screaming when the fatal accident occurred and most of them are unable to perform their duties even after police left the scene.
In an invited comment from Gromyko Wilson, a taxi dispatcher who worked at the PJIAE for five years said he was threatened by the head of the Economic Affairs Lucien Wilson because he had an argument with the President and Board of the Airport Taxi Association because taxi drivers are speeding and double parking in front of the Airport terminal. Wilson said for the five years he worked as a dispatcher at PJIAE he had to stand on the zebra crossing every Saturday with his flute to slow down the car rentals shuttle that are speeding heavily as they come to the airport to pick up passengers and take them to the various rental headquarters. He said the same thing goes for taxi drivers, they double park infont of the terminal building which is not allowed but none of the drivers wants to follow the rules thus he had an argument with the President of the Airport Taxi Association and due that argument his boss threatened him with a warning letter then moved him to Philipsburg.
Wilson said that over the years he worked at PJAIE he spoke to the head of security Jerry Sprot, Larry Donker and former Managing Director Regina Labega, pleading with them to do something in order to secure the lives of the passengers using the airport. Wilson said none of the persons he spoke to about the danger did anything to prevent what happened on Saturday morning. He said even advised them to place cones in order to bring about control but not one of them did anything. Wilson further stated that he is sure that the death of the toddler on Saturday morning was due to speeding and lack of proper control by the dispatcher on duty. “ “I can tell you on Saturday’s it’s a madhouse at the airport with the rental shuttles because they have to travel back and forth to pick up passengers that have reservations with the various car rentals. Because these shuttles have to make several trips so they speed even while on the airport property. When I was there I used to stand on the zebra crossing with my flute to slow them down. While I was there no one lost their life but since I was moved to Philipsburg a young innocent child life was snatched away.”
Wilson said an innocent child lost his life on Saturday, but something worst will take place at the Port of St. Maarten because there are a number of gypsies operating outside of the Port and the police and control unit are not doing anything about these matters that threatens the country’s economy and its visitors. One of the gypsy drivers already threatened a tourist, the next tiime it will be worst if authorities dont act now.
The Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE) is disheartened to learn of the unfortunate incident that resulted in the death of a child. This took place on Saturday in the frontal area of the airport in the early morning hours.
PJIAE has the safety and security of all its passengers, visitors, and employees as its top priority and is assisting the local authorities, which are leading the investigation.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased.
PJIAE Press Release