DRIVERS, when you are tired, please rest.
This was the plea made yesterday by Christopher Roach, cousin of Jamaal Anthony who died on Sunday morning when the car he was travelling in burst into flames after slamming into a culvert.
Roach made the comment during the eulogy for both his cousin and his cousin's friend Jamal Edwards. The two men were Air Guardsmen who trained together, limed together, died together and buried together with full military rites.
The two had only become Air Guardsmen on October 19 after a five-month training process.
At All Saints Anglican Church, Marli Street, Port of Spain, Roach begged those who were listening to heed their body's call for rest.
The two died in a crash in St Augustine along the Priority Bus Route (PBR) sometime around 4 a.m. after the duo spent Saturday night celebrating Edwards' birthday. Both men were burnt beyond recognition after the car in which they were occupants burst into flames after crashing into a concrete culvert.
Anthony was the driver.
"When you are tired please rest. The party not going to change, please don't let them become statistics. Remember if you have a friend and they are looking tired, tell them go home and rest," Roach told the packed church.
Roach said he blamed himself for the death of his cousin and cousin's friend. He said he telephoned his cousin every half hour when he first found out that he was sleeping while doing sentry duty the night before he died.
"He called me and said he was going out. Since I know Jamaal everywhere he went, I went with him. But for some reason that night, I didn't go. So I've been blaming myself ever since. Saying why I wasn't there, maybe things would have been different if I had gone. Then again, maybe I wouldn't be here today addressing you if I had. But that is my own burden.
"What I am telling you is that if you are tired, rest. Don't go out, the lime is not worth your life. Because the same party you going to today, is the same fete it will have tomorrow. It is the same music; it will have the same people. So miss one night, for the rest of your life. If you are sleepy, don't go and take that chance on the road, thinking you're obligated to. You're not. Go home. Sleep. And party the next day" Roach warned.
He said both men were great men and generals in the making and called on those gathered to remember them as men who rose to the top.
Hundreds of people came out to pay their last respects to the men. Their brothers in arms wore a black armband on the left arm.
In attendance were Minister of National Security Jack Warner and Chief of Defence Staff Brigidier Kenrick Maharaj
Following the church service, Long Circular Road in St James was cordoned off to facilitate the parade to the Military Cemetery where the men were laid to rest.