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PM sheds tears at Mother’s Day event

Prayers for Dana, Jaedon
Published: 
Friday, May 16, 2014
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar chats with baby Jounieh Gray and her mother Lela Mc Kenzie during the PM’s Afternoon Tea Party in celebration of Mother's Day at the Diplomatic Centre, St. Ann’s, yesterday. PHOTO: CLYDE LEWIS

Almost two weeks after prominent special state prosecutor Dana Seetahal, SC, was murdered, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says everything will be done and given to the investigators to ensure those who committed the act will be brought to justice. Persad-Bissessar gave the assurance during an address at a Mother’s Day function at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. The event, which was originally scheduled to take place last week, had to be postponed because of Seetahal’s funeral.

 

“My Government will not only make every resource available for the investigation into this atrocious act of violence against a woman who dedicated her life to justice, we are also determined to ensure whoever is responsible feels the full weight of he criminal justice system,” the PM said. Seetahal was killed in an ambush by gunmen along Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook, while on her way home from the Ma Pau casino on May 4. A special team is investigating the killing and a $3.5 million reward an has been offered for anyone with information leading to the successful arrest and prosecution of the killer or killers but up to yesterday no arrests had been made. Persad-Bissessar, who fought to hold back tears during parts of yesterday’s event, told her guests Seetahal should be celebrated as “a true mother-figure.”

Persad-Bissessar also spoke about Tuesday’s death of baby Jaedon Cudjoe, who died after being left in a car by his grandfather at Petrotrin Penal compound on Tuesday. She said many of those in the audience and throughout the country had been “moved to deep sadness on hearing the news.” Persad-Bissessar said: “We pray that God will bring comfort to Jaedon’s family in their time of grief and help them to cope with their unbearable loss.” She said the incident had caused her to consider the reintroduction of a media campaign, entitled Know Where your Child Is. She said that initiative was intended to encourage parents and guardians to always keep abreast of where their child was. During the event, Persad-Bissessar went to Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray and embraced her in remembrance of the passing of her daughter Michelle Coudray-Greaves in Jamaica last year. Persad-Bissessar was seen wiping her eyes as she returned to her seat before her address.

 

The PM also brought the international issue of the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by the Islamist group Boko Haram in Nigeria. According to Persad-Bissessar, the mothers of these students “have been made to live trough ongoing emotional torture at the thought of their daughters being in the hands of the terrorist group.” She recalled that the girls, aged between 12 and 17, were abducted on April 14 by Boko Haram gunmen who stormed their school. She said: “These terrorists have struck panic and threat to the lives of thousands of people and now threats to the lives of the children.” The PM said Boko Haram was “deliberately cheating an entire generation of people out of a future by stealing their opportunities for an education.”
She added: “This is not only to be condemned but must be met with force as harsh as their tyranny.” She then called on all citizens to “join with us in prayer that God will comfort and give strength to the mothers in Nigeria during this extremely terrifying time and will look over these girls and deliver them back safely to their homes.” Citizens were also called on to say Psalm 31 with Persad-Bissessar. That Psalm calls on God to be merciful to those who are in distress and weeping in sorrow. She said there was need to remind citizens of those sad times as they celebrated Mother’s Day. The PM also spoke of the need for citizens to be constantly vigilant as they dealt with the evil and celebrated the good in the world.