Monday, December 18, 2017

Farewell for murdered teenager


pain of parting: Robert Gomez, the father of murdered teenager Rasheeda Gomez, is comforted by his mother, Petra Gomez, during yesterday’s funeral service for the 16-year-old girl at the Allen and Sons Funeral Home in Arima. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Mark Fraser

SIXTEEN-year-old murder victim Rasheeda Gomez adored her mother and wanted to be just like her.

She often wore her hair like her mother and was even furthering her education in the field of make-up artistry.

This is according to her mother, Danille Alleyne, who along with Gomez’s father, Robert Gomez, said their final goodbyes to their teenager yesterday morning following a funeral service at Allen and Son’s Funeral home in Arima.

Rasheeda was pregnant, however, and this was only revealed to her parents on August 8.

“I would have accepted the child. It’s not something that I wanted for my daughter but I would have accepted the baby,” said Danille who spoke to the Express yesterday afternoon after her daughter had been buried at the D’Abadie Public Cemetery.

The 16-year-old and her boyfriend, Shondell Braithwaite, 18, were shot several times on the afternoon of August 14 at the Braithwaite’s lower Duncan Street, Port of Spain, apartment. 

Gomez died on arrival at the Port of Spain General Hospital that afternoon but her boyfriend survived.

Braithwaite was not at the funeral yesterday as he is still a patient at the Port of Spain General Hospital but in stable condition, according to the police.

According to Danille, her daughter attended the Mucurapo Secondary School following which she attended the Servol Life Centre at Beetham Gardens.

“She was always outspoken and she referred to all the adults as ‘auntie’ and ‘uncle’ and it didn’t matter what you tell she, she would always come back and say two minutes later how she loved you,” said Alleyne.

She continued, “I didn’t know she would have gotten pregnant now but I would have accepted it because we had a really, really good relationship as she would call me and tell me everything.”

Gomez’s favourite colour was pink and fittingly her coffin was pink and white.

Gomez’s father, who stayed outside during most of the funeral service which began at 10 a.m., walked in during the homily which was done by Pastor Marlon Alvarez. He stood looking at his daughter’s casket and said nothing. Then he began crying. He cried and cried and was eventually joined by his mother, Petra Gomez, who seemed moved by her son’s pain.

He didn’t speak to reporters, though.

The overall message during yesterday’s funeral was one of peace, forgiveness and a way forward.

The girl’s godfather, Emilio Hosein, spoke to the congregation  who nodded and mumbled yes in approval  as he spoke.

He did not blame the Government, the society, the people or anyone else for the violence plaguing the east Port of Spain community but rather the people who live there.

“The buck stops right here at Duncan and Nelson Streets,” he said, as he added that if people changed the ugly contents of their hearts the community would change for the better.

“No gun can kill you when you are under the blood of Jesus Christ,” he said.

He said he thanked God that he was a member of the east Port of Spain community and, “Rasheeda will rise again.”

Pastor Alvarez preached a similar sermon, saying the reason people experienced hardship is so that they would know how to appreciate the good times.

“We can do the same thing over and over again and achieve the same results but we are not trying God,” he said.

He added, “Why is it someone had to suffer the consequences of some dotish individual who feels he has more rights than God. We need to change our hearts because hunger does not make a man kill a man, neither does unemployment but until we change the hearts of man these issues will continue as we will go further and further away from God.”

He said it was now time to live right as people in society today had become too self-centred and stopped looking out for each other.