Family calls for UK Police to help in Paradise tragedy
We found you very professional as well as approachable, helpful and caring. We can now move on and look forward to a more stable and secure future. I am sure that this would not have happened without yourselves being involved.
The family of a two-year-old boy who was struck and killed by a speedboat while on a beach at Paradise Island has called for British Police to travel to the Bahamas to launch a thorough investigation into the tragedy.
Detectives from England are waiting for the results of an Inquest being held later this month before deciding to investigate the full circumstances surrounding the death of Paul Gallagher.
Warren Collins of Alexander Harris, the families solicitors said: "The Gallagher family have had their lives were torn apart following the horrific boating accident on Cabbage Beach outside the Atlantis Resort more than two years ago and are demanding answers from the Bahamas Government. The family are hoping that the inquest will help to provide further answers for the family and that they will be taken seriously before someone else is seriously injured."
The family say they have met a "wall of silence" since the tragedy.
Paul, who was born on the turn of the millennium, was staying with his family at Atlantis when he was struck by the out of control speed boat and fatally injured as he sat in a deck chair on August 15th 2002.
His mother, father, brother and sister were all present at the time of the tragedy as the boat ran aground and skipped along the beach. The rest of the family escaped injury, but the propeller ran into little Paul's head.
His parents were there as he succumbed to his injuries at Doctors Hospital five days later.
Paul, 38 and his wife Andrea 37 say their lives have been shattered by the tragedy and are demanding answers from the Bahamas. They said that so far they have been met with nothing but a wall of silence and indifference.
The family says Bahamian Ministers and Police have ignored them with letters going unanswered and phone calls unreturned.
The family met with British Government Officials and Metropolitan Police Officers last week in London. Foreign Office Minister, Baroness Symons has arranged to meet with the Bahamian High Commissioner to the UK in the next two weeks to discuss the incident.
A letter to British Coroner, Roy Palmer from the Attorney General's Office in the Bahamas has confirmed that the driver of the boat was not licensed and that the boat, operated by Sea and Ski Ocean Sports, was not insured at the time of the accident.
Andrea told The Tribune? "The Bahamas just wants this forgotten so they can concentrate on their tourist industry. Our lives have been ripped apart and our little boy is dead. The Bahamas wants to cover this up and let it fade into the background. We will never do that. What has been done in the Bahamas since my son died and how many more people have to die?"
She added, "No proper Police investigation has ever taken place that we know of and no-one has been charged with any offence. I know the lifeguards on duty did not shout a warning despite the boat having no driver and being out of control. No-one has been made accountable for my son's death."
While the family played on the beach during their summer holiday a two hundred horsepower speedboat, pulling an inflatable banana, went out of control. The driver was thrown from his seat and the boat careered onto the beach fatally injuring Paul.
An Inquest in Nassau returned a verdict of accidental death.
Another Inquest into the child's death is being held in England later this month with the Coroner examining the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. Following the Coroner's Ruling, British Police could fly to the Bahamas to carry out a full investigation into Paul's death.
The family says they are considering taking legal action against those who they hold responsible.
John McGuckion, Andrea's brother, told the Tribune; "The family have been treated disgracefully. They have received no explanations, no answers and not heard of any action being taken to prevent a similar incident happening again. We feel as if the Bahamian Authorities are doing nothing. Our family was ripped apart on Paradise Island, their dream holiday became a living nightmare."
"Our days of being silent are over and we want the world to know how dangerous the Bahamas can be. We know the same boat company involved in the death of Paul was also involved in the death of an American tourist on Paradise Island while parasailing, obviously no lessons were learnt. We also heard of another boy loosing an arm in another accident - again it was the same boat company."
At a recent conference in the Bahamas, "Creating a Safer Culture" Minister of Transport and Aviation, Glenys Hanna-Martin said that it is important for the country to be the pace setters in the growing water sports business. She also said that although water sports are a wonderful experience, it is also potentially dangerous, resulting in the need to strike a balance.
Unfortunately, the Minister said that people engaged in the industry are very young and tend to get caught up in a sense of abandonment, leading to serious consequences. "We have to remember that we are not a nation of undisciplined, careless, irresponsible or selfish people" she said.
"In my view, we are a people of great pride and passion and dignity. That most govern what we do in this industry and what we do generally in building this country and doing that we must ensure that there are standards and systems of accountability."
Taken from the Bahamas Tribune
Back to news
If you would like us to provide you with advice with regard to your potential claim, please complete our brief claim form. We will reply to your enquiry within one working day.
Fill out our quick claim form
If you would like to speak to someone directly about your claim, please call our friendly team on:
0870 024 0558