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She was my knight in shining armour—mom

Thursday, December 5, 2013
Keyana laid to rest..
Simone Williams, right, mother of slain six-year-old Keyana Cumberbatch, right, passes the casket of her daughter, followed by relative Denise Ann Robinson, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Bishop Barbara Burke during the Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Cumberbatch at the Council of Elders Spiritual Shouter Baptist Empowerment Hall in Maloney, D’Abadie, yesterday. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES

Six-year-old Keyana Cumberbatch was remembered by her mother Simone Williams yesterday as being the “knight in shining armour in all her darkness” as she said her final goodbye to her firstborn child. During the eulogy for her daughter at the Council of Elders Spiritual Shouter Baptist Empowerment Hall, off the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, Williams thanked God for her daughter, who went missing last Monday and was found dead in her home three days later.



Cumberbatch was hit in the head so severely that her skull was cracked. She was then sexually assaulted, an autopsy report revealed. Her body was found in such an advanced stage of decomposition that she had to have a closed-casket funeral. 



“Keyana was not supposed to be here, but she came, she came by the grace of God. It’s not I had her, but we all. She was a blessing. She was the light of my life, her father’s life and her grandfather. She was the knight in shining armour in all my darkness. She was my bundle of joy and she would always be my sweet little baby girl,” Williams said, in between sobs. She recalled how her daughter was “miserable” and didn’t like the word no. 


She ended her eulogy by saying, “Keyana, the only thing Mummy could do for you is to put you down in the hole this evening. Addressing the mourners, who included Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Clifton De Coteau and National Security Minister Gary Griffith, the officiating minister, Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke, said there was evil lurking the land and a praying family was the cure for it.


“Evil is stalking the land. Evil is stalking the land. When I watch the papers today, three children, only children. You know what that remind me of? When those pitbulls began killing people. Man turned himself into a beast,” she declared. Not all men were bad, she said, adding that there were good fathers, and all men should not be placed in the same category. She urged women to pray with their husbands and children. 


“Let us invoke family life. If you invoke family life, change will come. Satan would not be able to bombard our homes. Talk to your children. Let them know the danger. Let them know nobody is to touch them. Talk to them what life is about. Don’t be ashamed to let them know touching in the wrong parts is not right,” she said. “How come when I was growing up we didn’t have all these men raping? That’s because when you wake up you had to pray, when you reach to school the principal invoked the evening, prayers again.”


Burke said not every time there was the killing of a child should the Government be blamed. She said all the Government could do was provide laws, but it could not be there physically to stop criminal acts. She called on Griffith to provide hope to the mourners and nation at large. Griffith told the mourners this was a trying time and the country should stay together and believe there is a God. He said his ability to deal with crime came from God. 


During the ceremony, the Prime Minister read Psalm 103, which praises God and speaks of his mercy and compassion. After Griffith’s speech, Burke presented Williams with $3,232 that was raised from the collection at the service, which was stopped for a brief moment when a man identified only as Earl collapsed.


While Earl was being attended to, mourners bemoaned the police, saying had they acted more swiftly, Keyana would have been found much sooner. Some said it was because of their place of residence that they were treated with what they described as scant courtesy. President of the National Parent/Teacher Association Zena Ramatali encouraged Williams to be strong and as a member of the newly-appointed Child Protection Task Force she promised to be part of the solution.


After the ceremony Cumberbatch was buried at Crown Street Public Cemetery. 


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