Thu | Aug 16, 2018

PM reaches out - Holness urges speedy case resolution for sick teen

Published:Wednesday | July 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness sits with Tahjay Rowe, who suffered brain damage at birth. Holness made a financial donation to the child's family yesterday.

The story of 15-year-old Tahjay Rowe, who suffered brain damage at birth, caused by negligence on the part of staff at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, has moved Prime Minister Andrew Holness to make a personal donation to the teen yesterday.

Tahjay’s story caught the attention of the prime minister when it was featured in the most recent issue of The Sunday Gleaner.

Holness travelled to the family’s home in St Catherine yesterday and explained that he understood the hardship because his grand-aunt’s child went through a similar experience.

“I am well aware of the challenges that families face to support, maintain and care for persons with such disabilities. I was very moved and had to reach out to the family. More than that, we must build a society in which we care for the marginalised, less fortunate and vulnerable,” Holness said.

Holness did not divulge the contents of the envelope handed to Tahjay’s mother, but added that he had made a commitment to continue assisting the young man.

Tahjay’s family had successfully sued the State and was awarded $26 million for damages in 2015. However, the family has not yet received compensation. The delay is said to be because the government is challenging the ruling in court.

“I have asked the attorney general to fast-track the matter, to help it to come to a resolution very quickly. I gather that there are some administrative [and] bureaucratic issues that have to be resolved,” the prime minister told journalists yesterday.

“The delay is really denying the family justice. I am going to see how fast we can have this matter addressed. Of course, I can’t interfere or intervene in a matter before the court, but I will say to the attorney general that she must deal with this matter quickly,” Holness added.
Tahjay’s mother Tasha Howell and grandmother Yvonne Beckford expressed gratitude to Holness for the gesture.

“I think he really cares about our case and I want to thank him for that because, at least, someone has taken the time out to consider us. I feel very appreciative. I can sleep a little better at night now,” said Howell.

“I’m grateful. I appreciate it very much,” said Tahjay’s grandmother Yvonne.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com