Arouca group holds candlelight vigil for Amarah

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

GONE TOO SOON: Members of the Five Rivers Cultural Caravan lead a candlelight procession in memory of murdered four-year-old Amarah Lallitte from Five Rivers Junction to Prime Minister Park, Five Rivers on Monday night. – Photo by Roger Jacob

A teen, a hobbling elderly woman and an alert young mother with two children were among dozens of Arouca residents at a candlelight vigil on Monday night to mourn four-year-old Amarah Lallitte, who was brutally beheaded last Monday.

The murder had shocked the already death-weary nation.

Led by a car with a microphone playing a mournful song, it was a subdued gathering of people, taking a stand as a community, yet whose civility was completely opposite to the horror which they now mourned.

Some folks did not know Amarah, but others fondly remembered her as the smiling little girl happily playing during events at the local community centre.They walked from Five Rivers Junction to Fifth Street, pausing to place candles and flowers at Amarah’s home.

Five Rivers Community Cultural Caravan PRO Selina Khan-Antoine told Newsday, “It is a very, very, very sad situation. The whole of Five Rivers felt it. We are all parents, we are children so everybody has some sort of emotion felt at this time. It is sad; A young life was taken.”

She fondly recalled Amarah as a child who was always happily laughing at everything going on around her.

Khan-Antoine said people were present to give support to Amarah’s parents and family.

Khan-Antoine said Amarah’s mother and older daughter used to attend dance classes, and Amarah was considered a member of the cultural caravan.

Asked if she could offer any coping mechanism over Amarah’s death, she said,”There is no coping mechanism.”Unfortunately, for some of us, time doesn’t heal. We are heartbroken and we just have to let justice take its course and try to see how best we can go on with our lives.

“You can’t play the blame game, because you never know when things are going to happen. The most we can do is be careful.”

Teenager Sariah Alibey used to dance and see Amarah playing nearby.

“I want to honour her by being here and everybody being here.”

Her friend Keziah Antoine told Newsday, “I used to dance with Amarah’s sister in Best Village. Her mum used to come and was pregnant with her. Later I’d see Amarah playing outside.”I hope we could possibly get justice for Amarah.”

Primary school pupil Jaydon Gomes said, “I came to support Amarah. I’m always seeing Amarah playing with her cat and she was always talking to me.

“She is a lovely girl. And she is smart.”

Local councillor Desiree de Freitas told reporters that at the end of the vigil, participants must show love and compassion.

“We came out to show we are together and we support the family, friends and associates who have been going through a terrible time.”

She said this was a perilous time for the nation, which had made international news.

“We could only try to bring back that peace and love that we know TT to be.”

Asked if blame was to be cast anywhere for Amarah’s death, she said no.

“You can’t blame anybody. I think everybody had contributed in some way or another to this and the end result is very tragic. It had happened, and let us move ahead.

“We will give the family the support they need. We have started and will continue.

“I know Five Rivers is a united community and we will continue to unite and give the love and support they need.”

While the authorities do what they must, the community would give its support, De Freitas said.

“We must forgive. To move forward you must forgive.” She said parents must be mindful. “You always are to be looking out. You have to be very sensitive.”

Shannon Lallite, Amarah’s father, tearfully told Newsday, “Today I am watching kids go to school, but I will never see my daughter go to school.

“I can’t even talk right now,” he said, choking with emotion. “This walk should have been by Parliament, the Red House.”

Mulling the vigil turnout, he said, “As I see everybody come together, I cry.”

Newsday met Amarah’s cousin, a young woman staying nameless whose face and body were each twisted with grief.

“I feel terrible. Terrible.” she said. She wished the very worst fate on Amarah’s murderer. The father said Amarah would never get to again play with a cousin her own age.

He said, “Our whole family loved Amarah dearly.”