Emotional send-off for Chaguaramas accident victim

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Pallbearers remove the casket of accident victim Jeraldin Matamoro after her funeral at at Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church, Maraval, on Friday. – ROGER JACOB

It was an emotional send-off as family and friends gathered for the funeral of 25-year-old Jeraldin Matamoro on Friday.

On May 26, Matamoro and 28-year-old Akel Mark Thomas, from Diego Martin, were both killed when their car lost control opposite O2 Park, Western Main Road, Chaguaramas.

During the ceremony at Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church in Maraval, Matamoro’s mother had to be consoled by other relatives as she wept loudly while holding Matamoro’s young child.

Fr Ron Mendes told the mourners that it was okay to be confused about Matamoro’s death, but they should not question God. He said that death itself could be difficult to understand.

He spoke of God’s promises, saying, “At her baptism, the priest signed her on the forehead with a cross, claiming her for Christ our Savior.”

“She belongs to Christ.”

Mendes referenced the gospel of St John emphasising Jesus’s prayer for his disciples and for everyone.

“Father, I want all those you have given me to be with me where I am.”

Mendes told the greving congregation that although Matamoro’s body had died, her soul lived on with Christ, and he encouraged them to open their hearts to the Lord for consolation and to find peace in knowing Jesus had taken Matamoro into His care.

Mendes called on everyone to reflect on their own lives and relationships, urging them to embrace unity and stressing they must reject division. Mendes cited the 2023 murder toll and told the congregation the commissioner of police alone cannot stop crime, but everyone needs to work together, put aside differences and take back TT.

Ingris Matamoro, mother of accident victim Jeraldin Matamoro, is comforted by close relatives after her daughter’s funeral at at Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church, Maraval, on Friday. – ROGER JACOB

He said in God’s family, all are called to be brothers and sisters, transcending divisions by race, religion, or status and urged the congregation to live as true disciples of Christ by loving one another and standing up for justice and integrity.

Mendes said, in the end, it is not material accomplishments that matter, but the love and care we show to others, as he called for a commitment to love, forgiveness and breaking down barriers that divide people.

Mendes ended with a call to action, saying, “Let the healing love of God come into our hearts if we follow Jesus in love.”

On May 26, Police said around 8.20 pm, Thomas and Matamoro were driving east along Western Main Road when their car attempted to overtake a line of traffic. The vehicle lost control and swerved off the road, crashing into rocks and flipping.

The car landed on its hood in the waters of Welcome Bay and Passers-by tried to take them out of the wreckage but were unsuccessful.

Videos of the crash had gone viral on social media, showing people trying to take the car out of the water. One video showed men on the rocky shoreline, one with a rope around his waist, assisting from the shore as a number of passers-by attempted to retrieve the car and save the two.

As they took Matamoro and Thomas from the car, the videos showed people trying to resuscitate Thomas using CPR.