By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
FOUR C’s Adventures, the tour company involved in a fatal boating accident in Exuma two weeks ago, has resumed operations after the government issued a cease and desist order it said would be in place until the accident investigation is complete.
When The Tribune called the company yesterday and last week, a customer service representative confirmed the company has resumed its tours and is making bookings. It is understood operations resumed on July 11.
Whether this means the accident investigation is complete is unclear. Neither the company’s owner, Clayton Patterson Smith, nor his lawyer, Elliot Lockhart, have been told the latest developments, they said yesterday.
Transport and Local Government Minister Renward Wells has not responded to The Tribune’s questions about what the company’s resumption of operations means for the status of the accident investigation. This newspaper has also been unable to reach the port controller, with phone calls to the Port Department often going unanswered.
During a press conference on July 2, then Transport Minister Frankie Campbell, said: “I wish to advise that the investigation into this matter is underway... Due to the nature of this incident, the acting controller of the Port Department, Commander Raymond King, in collaboration with the Exuma Port Authority Board has issued an immediate cease and desist order in respect of this company, and it is prevented from undertaking any operations at this time, pending the completion of the Port Department’s investigation.”
Yesterday, when asked if the investigation into the accident is complete, Mr Smith told The Tribune: “I haven’t heard anything. I haven’t gotten the all clear.”
His lawyer, Mr Lockhart, QC, said he knew nothing about a cease and desist order, adding the government lacks “the power to shut him down.”
“They shut him down relative to one boat as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “Nobody has the authority to shut him down vis a vis his other boats which are all properly licenced and certified. You think the government wants to pay damages? Because I would sue in a hurry.”
The June 30 incident resulted in the death of an American woman, Maleka Jackson, and led two other people to suffer amputation of limbs. These included Mrs Jackson’s husband Tyran Jackson and another visitor, Stefanie Schaffer. Up to press time last night, the family of Ms Schaffer, the double amputee, had raised $158,869 on GoFundMe to take care of her expenses. The family of Mr Jackson had raised $143,923.