The tragedy occurred at the non-operational Tucville sewerage pump station in Georgetown, where the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) said residents vandalised the fence to use the compound as a “walkway.”
BRAVE RASTA: Ordock Reid searches for Briana Dover in the Faeces
A glimmer of joy flickered in the hearts of the scores who had gathered at the site when brave Ordock Reid, 44, pulled the child out alive. However, their hopes, including his, turned to utter grief when she was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation where she was rushed by a fire tender.
She was left in the care of her grandmother, Audrey Grannum, who was also keeping her sisters Tianna, 4, and Kayla, 3 while their mother, Carol Grannum, was out to do business and attend court in a dispute with her reputed husband, Chrwyne Edson Dover.
The couple had an argument Saturday and the child’s mother moved out of the 59 Durban Street, Georgetown house to go live with her mother, who had been relocated to Tucville in a government plan to clear the Georgetown port community of Tiger Bay.
A MOTHER’S ANGUISH: A distraught Carol Grannum, mother of the child, during the rescue attempt to save her daughter.
The matter ended up in the hands of the Police and the two were due to appear before the court yesterday morning.The grandmother said her daughter, Carol, had left money for her to give the three children icicles, which she sells. She said once she had done that, she put on some music and watched them dance in front of her.
FATHER’S LOST: Chrywyne Dover, father of Brianna Dover, during the search for his daughter.
She said she warned them not to go too far and went inside to do her chores. Grannum said when she missed the children, she looked over in the yard to see them playing in the company of their uncle, Paul.
She said about 09:30 h, she called out to the children, but only Tianna and Kayla came. She said when she realised Brianna was missing, she went in a mad search for her, but the sewerage dump was not on her mind.
The focus on the faeces dump became the centre of attention when a physically challenged child pointed to one side of her pair of slippers. Many attempted to get into the reservoirs, but Reid was the only one who braved it through until he found her.
LOCK’S GONE: Ordock Reid, without his locks, after he had cleaned up from his brave attempt to save Brianna Dover from the faeces pit.
Thirty minutes later, however, he decided to see what was happening. He said he was greeted with anguished faces, and many who were desperate to get the girl, but no one willing to take the plunge, so he did it.
He said after a rope was tied to his waist, he braved the filth and went in search of the girl.
However, his dreadlocks, sacred to Rastafarians, was a humbug, so he rushed home, took a knife and cut them out and returned into the pool of faeces. At the fourth hour, he said he felt a nudge to his waist. “I knew it was her,” he said. Reid reached down and said he grabbed the girl and brought her up.
ANXIOUS: Residents gathered at the Tucville sewerage pump station where five-year-old Brianna Dover fell in and eventually died.
Anxious residents grabbed her from his hands when they realised she was alive, though unconscious. He emerged and immediately helped in the efforts of GWI Health and Safety Officer Mr. Christopher Cathro, in performing CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation). Cathro said the child responded by “coughing up a lot of water” and she bit his fingers three times.
When residents urged that she be rushed to the hospital, it was Reid who grabbed her in his arms, and unto the fire tender standing by. He burst into tears when he realised that she had not made it.The grandmother said the doctor at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation explained that too much of the faeces had entered her system. Reid said he felt that all his hard work went in vain, but he related that when he decided to go in search of the girl, he was determined not to come out until his mission from “the Father” was fulfilled.
He said cutting out his dreadlocks was not something he would have done ordinarily, since he felt the emotions of all the people around and he loved all children like his own. “When I cut out my hair, I felt like Sampson – I lost all my power,” he said.
He said he was treated at the hospital and sent home. He said he felt he had done something good when a man reached out to hand him $1,000 and remarked that he was a brave man. Reid regretted not having investigated the matter as soon as he heard there was a commotion at the pump station.
SAVED: Earnnel McKay, left, who was saved from the pit five years ago, stands with friends he plays with not far from the pit in which Brianna Dover drowned.
The tarmac where children of the relocated Tiger Bay residents play is near the pump station which has been deemed non-operational by GWI.
Residents complained that the fence to the compound is not proper and the gate is left open for private disposal services which dump sewerage every morning.
In fact, shortly after the time it was believed Brianna fell into the dump, residents said a company was dumping faeces into the pit. Residents said it was the government which had relocated them to the area and bore responsibility for their safety from the pit. “It ain’t easy for my sister to lose her child like that. I have children too. Everybody here has children,” an angry Natasha Alexander, the dead child’s aunt said.
However, GWI in a press release it had repaired the gate to the facility on numerous occasions after it was vandalised by persons who utilised the compound as a walkway in order to gain access to the area behind the pump station where they live. The company said the facility is supervised by an operator who functions during daylight hours, while guards monitor the compound at night.
GWI said it is immediately implementing measures to prevent a reoccurrence of yesterday’s tragedy. The company said these measures would include placing warning signs and additional security measures. The guard on duty at the time of the incident, John Davis, said he did not see the children playing, neither did he hear any noise, as the pump was on. He said he only became aware of what was going on after the child’s grandmother asked whether he had seen Brianna.
GWI Director of Operations, Mr Sizwe Jackson told the Guyana Chronicle that last week GWI officials visited the scene after the security guard complained that he had received death threats from residents who had cut the chain link fence at the back of the premises to walk through to their homes.
He said GWI received a telephone call about 13:00 h and he notified the Health and Safety Officer, Mr Castro and within 10 minutes responded to the scene with a team. He said that holding tank is about 20 to 30 feet deep and contains both solids which are at the top and liquids at the bottom.
Although a report was made at the East La Penitence police station minutes after the child disappeared, the Police were nowhere around throughout the harrowing rescue attempt.
Brianna’s eldest sister, Tandika, 15, from a different mother, said she heard of the news from her father at about 13:30 h. She said he left home to collect some money his relatives from overseas were sending him to take a lawyer to handle the dispute he had with the children’s mother, Carol Grannum. She said she lived upstairs with her father, while her three sisters lived downstairs with their mother.
Tandika said on Saturday they had an argument and the woman took the matter to the station, claiming that Dover had broken her nose. She said she saw when her father carried down a suitcase with his reputed wife’s belongings, but the woman brought them up back. She eventually left for her mother’s place in Tucville. Little did she realise that the move would cost her her eldest daughter. (Guyana Cronicle)Neil Marks and Michel Outridge; Photos by Delano Williams)