Tuesday, February 20, 2018

‘Our country is crying out for love’


SAYING GOODBYE: Sangeeta Paladee, centre, reads the eulogy during her mother Dian’s funeral yesterday in the family home at Pasea Village, Tunapuna. Dian’s mother Shanti, right, is consoled by a family member. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

Mark Fraser

A MESSAGE of tolerance, forgiveness and love was preached throughout the funeral of Dian Paladee yesterday morning at her maternal home in Prescott Lane, Tunapuna.

Paladee was the daughter of deceased businessman, Lall Paladee, who founded the Pennywise chain of cosmetic stores.

The 48-year-old mother of two was shot and killed last Thursday by her ex-husband, Sanjeev Rambarran, who then turned the gun on himself.

So large was the gathering for the murder victim that roads in Tunapuna, south of the Priority Bus Route, were virtually impassable to vehicular traffic. Parking was almost non-existent.

Paladee taught at El Dorado South Hindu School for 20 years and quite a few children turned up at the funeral in their school uniforms as they said their final goodbyes to “Miss Dian”, as she was fondly called.

Paladee was found dead on Friday morning at the Bidassie Street, St Augustine apartment of her ex-husband. She had been tied and her mouth gagged and she died from a single gunshot wound.

Rambarran killed himself using a piece of metal to discharge the shotgun that he pointed at his head. His funeral took place on Saturday in San Fernando.

Yesterday, however, the expected anger and sadness had been replaced with messages of peace and forgiveness.

Most of Paladee’s five brothers spoke and along with talking about the life of their sister and the horror of her passing, they all acknowledged that she was a part of Trinidad and Tobago’s alarmingly high murder toll, which has seen 24 people killed for the year already.

Delivering one of the strongest messages of forgiveness for the man who killed Paladee was her brother, Dalvie Paladee.

As he spoke, there was a silence among the scores of mourners.

His powerful voice rang with emotion as he described his sister’s action towards the man who killed her.

He also condemned the nation’s leaders for not showing compassion to the victims of crime in Trinidad and Tobago.

“She tried to help a soul which was on fire and needed her cooling love. So this morning I want to send love to the guy you all hate right now, okay,” he said.

There was a brief murmur as he continued: “She had started to fix that, but now in our mourning we must send love to him and then her life would have made sense. This is what Dian was all about.

“Every single person spoke of how she would brighten your day but...but this person (as he referred to Rambarran) who has qualities of an animal still has God’s energy.

“Listen, we will pledge to fix this country because our country is crying for love,” he said.

Legal Affairs Minister and St Augustine MP Prakash Ramadhar also spoke during the funeral.

“I look around and at this family and I see such a loving family and I ask how such a tragedy could befall such a loving group. I say as sad as it is to see, it allows us to focus on what happened here, in the fact that it is something which has happened before and can happen again. It tells us we must all be vigilant and look out for one another,” said Ramadhar.

“Because it is possible that, in our hurt, and the fact that other people are hurt as well, that we could lash out at one another, and this is something we must strive to avoid, and we must all watch over one another and ourselves,” he added.

“I look at this family and I know that it takes a tremendous God-inspired strength to come out of this. Every person here in the wider community is with you. This family has always been there for others through your work and the charity you’ve given, and this is the time when the country will repay you with love and kindness. They will reach out and help you, just as you have helped others.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran, who spoke to reporters following the funeral, said: “It was tragic that such an incident could have befallen on a loving house as the Paladee’s.

“We hope that we can turn pain into an energy that is positive which would be inspiring to the nation and society.”

Paladee’s body was later cremated at the Caroni cremation site.