St Vincent and the Grenadines was faced with tragedy and mourning today after a mini bus full of passengers plunged into the sea.
First reports said least seven people, mainly students, died in the accident which occurred on the northeastern tip of the island early Monday.
The tragedy appeared to mirror one which took place in St Lucia in November 2011 at MorneSion in Choiseul when a minibus run off the road and plunged down a precipice and into the sea killing some 19 people.
According to I-Witness News, the impact of the tragedy was such that Prime Minister Gonsalves announced a postponement of his budget speech that was scheduled to have been delivered to Parliament.
“As a consequence of this terrible tragedy, I have consulted with the Leader of the Opposition, the Speaker of the House of Assembly and His Excellency the Governor General and we have all agreed that the Parliament session this afternoon…be postponed until tomorrow the same time,” he added.
Police and government officials say that five bodies were recovered from the sea, one person died in hospital and another died on the way to the medical institution.
Up to press time, police were still trying to verify how many persons were in the minibus when it plunged into the sea.. Initial reports said that as many as 20 people, including 14 students from the North Union and Georgetown Secondary Schools were on board.
There were claims that the conductor was standing, suggesting that the minibus was carrying more people than it was licensed to carry, a common practice in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.