WHEN did we go from praying for our children to preying on them, Pastor Nieve George questioned yesterday as he delivered the sermon at the funeral service of murdered siblings Ke’anna and Omari Mayers.
Speaking at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Barataria, George likened the death of the Mayers siblings to that of Jesus Christ and said he is scared this country has gotten accustomed to the heinous killing of our children.
Both Ke’anna and Omari were expected to celebrate their birthdays next month.
Ke’anna would have turned three on May 28 while Omari would have celebrated his first birthday on May 17.
Instead, the siblings were yesterday laid to rest together in a single casket.
Both Omari and Ke’anna were killed some time during Saturday night by their father, 33-year-old Barry Karamath.
Karamath also killed himself.
An autopsy performed on Monday by forensic pathologist Dr Vale-
ry Alexandrov revealed the two children died as a result of asphyxia (a lack of oxygen or excess of carbon dioxide in the body that can lead to unconsciousness or death).
However, the exact cause of the asphyxia—whether the children were poisoned or if they were smothered—remains unknown.
The funeral programme and the inside of the casket were adorned with the images of cartoon characters Dora the Explorer and Diego.
Karamath’s name was missing from the programme.
He was referenced but remained unnamed during the funeral service.
According to the programme, the siblings’ mother, Okilia, was originally scheduled to deliver the eulogy. Instead, this task was completed by the children’s grand uncle Lennard.
Lennard said Ke’anna portrayed “womanhood from a tiny tot” while Omari was an upcoming man who was “strong in stature, well built and strong in power”.
“May God help that guy who put them to sleep,” Lennard said.
George then delivered the sermon and said the death of the duo was a loss to the nation.
“These have been some hard days, rough days; sometimes, Lord, we felt like you weren’t present. We asked, ‘Where were you?’ but, God, today, we will trust you still,” George said.
“If it was ever a time, God, we needed some strength in this place, God, it is now. If there ever was a time we needed your divine comfort, it is now,” he said.
George said it was alright to cry and grieve for the children.
“But what I don’t want you to be, my sister, what I don’t want you to be, as a community, is broken. This was supposed to break you. This was supposed to leave you hopeless; it was meant to crush your spirit, but out of this, you must rise because no weapon formed against God’s children must be allowed to prosper,” George said.
“It will hurt and you will shed tears, but you will not come to the place in your life where you would feel that there is no hope because as long as God lives, there is hope. Don’t allow it to crush your spirit,” he said.
George said the healing process would take time.
“There are too many folks today that are confronted by trials and adversities of these types, and when we think that we are knocked down and life is hard, life can hit you some hard blows, and you will be wounded but don’t be broken; don’t be crushed because you have someone named Jesus.
“It will take time to heal; each day, it will take time, and we can come in here and sympathise with mom and sympathise with the family, and some of us even brave to say, ‘We know how you feel,’ but we don’t know how she feels, but we all know together that things like this take time,” he said.
“And you will never get the answers, no, because something like this makes no sense and we can turn the equation all how, it will never ever make sense,” he said.
George likened the death of the children to the martyrdom of Jesus Christ.
“On this day as we come into God’s house on the eve of Easter, we are reminded that like Jesus, these two young children were taken like martyrs in a senseless act,” George said.
George said we have moved as a society from praying and establishing moral and spiritual values into our children to preying on them.
“When did we move from praying to preying when our children are no longer safe in the society because we have become so insensitive,” George said.
“They cry out today because today, they can cry out for the other children in our society, for the child today who is living in a home with abuse; they cry out for the child today who is receiving things but not the love and compassion of their parents, they cry out.
“For the people who believe it is more important to give your sons a $2,000 sneaker than to spend time with them and to hug them and to cuddle them, they cry out,” George said.
George urged people facing personal trials not to take matters into their own hands but to seek God.
He said the soil at our nation’s cemeteries are active because the youth are dying and being laid to rest.