Minister quits following death crash

  • 2007-11-12
  • In cooperation with BNS

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY: Sukys feels he should not be the only person to resign over the Skuodas incident (Photo: Interior Minsitry)

VILNIUS 's- Lithuanian Interior Minister Raimondas Sukys handed in hisresignation Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas on 12 November.

Kirkilas' spokeswoman Nemira Pumprickaite confirmed to BNSthat Sukys made the move in the wake of a car crash that claimed the lives ofthree children.

On Nov. 7, a car being driven by a police officer ploughedinto a group of children returning home from school. Two ten-year-old boys were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash andthird died of his injuries in hospital.

Sukys had hinted last week that he might considerresigning. Though he was not directly involved in the tragic incident, InteriorMinister Sukys is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the police.

The minister himself demanded the resignation of thepolice's Commissioner General Vytautas Grigaravicius, and said that ifGrigaravicius refused to go, he would himself stand down.

In a meeting with PMKirkilas on Nov. 10, Sukys said that the tragic event in Skuodas revealedthat serious problems within the police force have been accumulating over aseven-year period and illustrated that the force is in crisis - both in termsof management and morale.

For his part, Grigaravicius told BNS that he even though heassumes responsibility for the tragedy, he will leave his post only if a"political decision" is made. At the time of the incident he was attending a function in Morocco, but after a meeting with President Valdas Adamkus on Nov. 12, he did announce his resignation.

Prime Minister Kirkilas divided the responsibility equallybetween the district's police department, the police Commissioner General, theminister and himself.

"How many more victims will the war on the roads claimbefore politicians, state officials see and start to address the trafficissues?" asked President Valdas Adamkus, speaking via a spokesperson.

The president talked about the tragedy in the district of Skuodas with Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas overthe phone on Thursday.

In the aftermath of the crash, Sukys was forthright in hisappraisal of the situation. "There can be no excuses. The chief of thePolice Department must bear personal responsibility for this horrible incident- all the more as it is not the first time that instead of curbing trafficviolators, police officers become culprits."

The officer responsible for the crash is reported to have fledthe scene. He was escorted to the police station the next day by his olderbrother 's also a police officer.