Wednesday 8th October, 2008


Hundreds say farewell to fire victims

Final rites for Persad family

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Kimraj Persad leads relatives in some of the Hindu rites at the funeral service.


Thunder cracked and the skies opened as the charred remains of the Persad family were placed in a hearse on their final journey to the Shore of Peace at Mosquito Creek, La Romaine, yesterday.

Ragkummar Persad, 43, his wife Marilyn, 40, and their children Sanjay, 12, and Ariyana left behind scores of tormented relatives who sought answers to their deaths.

The funeral took place at St Julien Village, Princes Town, from 10 am.

Ragkummar’s remains were placed in the same casket with the remains of his son, while Marilyn’s remains lay with those of her daughter.

Hundreds of people packed into seven tents, placed on both sides of the road, as they paid their final respects to the family.

Police had found no clues to suggest that the family was murdered before their Indian Walk, Moruga, home went up in flames last Saturday. And although the autopsy revealed that they died from smoke inhalation, relatives were still unsure whether their deaths could be classified as murder.

Officiating Pundit Abhedhanand Persad-Sharma urged mourners to release their grief into the hands of God, and provide solace for surviving daughter Malini Persad-Sieunarine and her one-month-old daughter Maya.

“If someone tried to burn them, to shoot them, or drown them, then I believe that the souls of Dennis, Marilyn, Sanjay and Ariyana are eternally saved. If it is these deaths are the works of man then you should know that fire cannot burn their souls,” Persad-Sharma said.

“An entire family has been burnt out... Whether it is the work of God or the work of man, we do not know.

“If this is the work of God, then thank you God for saving this family from more grief, because for four years they have been grieving for their son Vijay, who was kidnapped.

“The world is struggling politically and financially. The evil in me is fighting the evil in you. Everyday people are dying and the world is shattering.”

Meanwhile, Princes Town MP Subhas Panday said the police should concentrate all their efforts to finding out how the family died.

“People want answers,” Panday said during an interview.

“The Government has allocated $364 million to Sautt (Special Anti-crime Unit of T&T)... I believe that Sautt should move in and find out whether this was a criminal act or not,” Panday said.

Ragkummar’s cousin Roland, who delivered the eulogy, said after Vijay’s kidnapping, his parents never lost hope in God. He said he hoped the family would find peace.

A grieving Malini Persad-Sieunarine, right, comforts a relative during the funeral service at Naparima Mayaro Road, St Julien Village, Princes Town, yesterday morning.