COMFORTED: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, left, consoles Simone Williams following yesterday’s funeral service for her six-year-old daughter, Keyana Cumberbatch (inset), at the Council of Elders Spiritual Shouter Baptist Empowerment Hall, Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, Maloney. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK



Keyana’s mom at funeral: She was my bundle of joy

By Joel Julien

SIMONE Williams yesterday described her murdered six-year-old daughter, Keyana Cumberbatch, as the “light of everybody’s life”.
Williams said Keyana, whose home name was “Key Key”, was not planned, but she came into her life and was a blessing.
“Keyana was not supposed to be with us, but she came. She came by the grace of God and the six years I had her, that we all had... she was a blessing,” Williams said.
Williams made the statements as she delivered an emotional eulogy during Keyana’s funeral service, which was held at the Council of Elders Spiritual Shouter Baptist Empowerment Hall, located off the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway in Maloney.
Williams said, for her, Keyana opened “ways and means that nobody else” could have.
“She touched many lives, shared many love and shared many tears,” Williams said of Keyana.
Williams said her daughter’s life was a “short, sweet, loving, blessing”.
“She was my bundle of joy, she will always ever be my sweet baby girl,” Williams said.
Williams had one final request for her daughter.
“Keyana, only thing Mummy could do for you, when she put you down in the ground, cast all she burdens and pains away with you and ask you to help her forgive the person that did this to you, to let God and let go,” Williams said.
“Take this feeling away from Mummy baby and go with it,” she said.
A close male relative is currently assisting detectives with their investigations into Keyana’s killing.
That person’s name was absent from the relatives listed at the back of the funeral programme.
The “service of thanksgiving for the life of Keyana Cumberbatch” began around 1 p.m. yesterday.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, National Security Minister Gary Griffith and Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Clifton De Coteau were among the congregation.
Persad-Bissessar read Psalm 121 from the Holy Bible.
But earlier, before Persad-Bissessar arrived at the funeral service, Griffith, who was seated on the stage, sprang into action following an announcement that a man had collapsed at the entrance to the hall.
A Maloney resident, identified as Earl John, who had come to pay final respects to Keyana, collapsed with epileptic fits on a concrete bench at the front of the hall.
Griffith attempted to help him.
An ambulance was called to the scene and John was eventually taken away.
The funeral proceeded.
Addressing the congregation, Griffith admitted this country was in “trying times”.
“This is indeed a trying time, but it is not a time to give up. This is a time where we must all stay together, work together and believe in one thing, that there is something good. There is a God, there is a God that is greater than anything that can happen, that can take away and destroy us,” he said.
Griffith said good will always overcome evil.
“We need to continue to have faith. I ask you to remember that at all times good will always overcome evil. The few individuals in our society, those parasites are very few, we must work together and have faith in one thing and one thing alone, that there is a God that would put an end to this once and for all,” he said.
“I do not have the power. The power comes with my God, with our prayers. Let us look at that and pray to get over these trying times in the same manner let us pray for good to overcome evil in our country. I will do what I have to do and I ask you to do the same, that we pray and have faith and we be our brothers’ keeper,” Griffith said.
Episkopus Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke lamented reports that three children had been killed in separate incidents around the country.
She said men had become beasts.
Allan Thomas appeared in the Tunapuna Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, charged with the murder of his one-year-old son, Jacob Munroe, on November 20.
Detectives are currently investigating the death of three-year-old Jabari Hernandez last weekend after an autopsy found he died as a result of blunt force trauma.
“Evil is stalking the land. When I watched the papers today three children, only children. You know what it reminds me of, when those pitbulls began to kill people it was killing, killing by the pitbulls, man turn itself into a beast so he start killing too. Beasts have no understanding, so human beings began killing their own children,” Gray-Burke said.
She said people should stop blaming the government for these crimes.
“But I want to tell you every time we have the murder of a child brethren blame the government. Could the government be in everybody’s home to see when they are going to practise any evil thoughts they are considering? So stop the blame, all the government can do is put the law and have the law instituted,” she said.
She admonished mothers to remember that not all fathers are bad.
“I know everybody getting jumpy now seeing three children murdered, they watching the children’s fathers. All the men not bad. All the men are not bad, there are good fathers and let us don’t hold all and put them down,” she said.
Gray-Burke called for a return to prayer to invoke family life so that “Satan would not be able to bombard our homes”.
She also called on parents to communicate with their children.
“Talk to your children, let your children know the danger, let your children know that nobody is to touch them, talk to them, tell them what life is about . Don’t be too ashamed to let them know touching in the wrong part is not right. Talk to them,” she said.
Keyana was given a musical send-off with bell ringing, drum beating, pan playing, and hand clapping.
She was laid to rest at the Crown Street Public Cemetery in Tacarigua.
An offering of $3,232 was yesterday collected and handed over to Williams during the funeral service.
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