Kimani honoured at his funeral in Point Fortin

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Kimberly Charles, mother of deceased toddler Kimani Francis, is comforted by relatives as mourners head to the burial ceremony after his funeral at the Bethel Pentecostal Church, Morris Street Point Fortin on Friday. – ROGER JACOB

Wearing t-shirts with the image of two-year-old Kimani Emmanuel Francis, also called Mani, scores of mourners bade farewell in his hometown, Point Fortin, on Friday.

The tiny coffin carrying his body was taken to the Bethel Pentecostal Tabernacle at Morris Street on Friday at around 2 pm. The congregation then sang the hymn, Jesus Loves The Little Children.

The top of the closed coffin was decorated with images of the toddler and characters from the popular children-based YouTube channel, Cocomelon.

Church member Ajamu Kibwe wrote a poem titled Kimani in the toddler’s honour.

“Kimani, Kimani come to me. It’s time to leave this family. Kimani, Kimani follow my voice. Don’t you stop by any house. Kimani, Kimani no one will know. The time has come for you to go,” Kibwe said.

“Kimani, Kimani, your work is done. Just for you, I made a crown.”

Kimani would have turned three on September 23. He lived with his mother, Kimberly Charles, 22, and other relatives at Tenth Street Extension in Techier Village. His father, Emmanuel Francis, lives in Guapo.

On May 9, the toddler wandered away from his family’s home, barefoot and wearing only a disposable diaper.

His disappearance led to a massive search which included members of the protective services and civilians, including Point Fortin MP Kennedy Richards Jr, mayor Saleema Thomas, and councillor for Techier/Guapo Lyndon Harris.

The next day, his body was found in the Guapo River.

An autopsy at the Forensic Science Centre in St James found his death was due to asphyxia consistent with drowning. On Monday, the family had a second autopsy done privately. Newsday learnt they are awaiting the findings.

The police are also investigating possible negligence in the death and have interviewed several people.

Via the poem, Kibwe knocked people who cast blame, adding they did not consider the parents’ pain. He also praised “all those who came,” adding that, in time to come, they would receive their gain.

Bishop Emroy Sampson and evangelist Christon Nicholas officiated.

In his sermon, Nicholas said that society seems to focus on females and often neglects the males.

“Our young boys are crying out just like the young ladies. We must place focus on our young men.”

He said many young men are killing one another. Nicholas added that many have also rejected the moral principles of the church. He said when people drift away from Christ, it leads to chaos.

He warned that there is an enemy after young men.

“Behind it all, the Devil at work. He seeks to kill, steal and destroy our young men. If we do not try to help them, the nation would continue to go down. That is why we need Jesus is important. He is the only person who can stand before Satan and defeat him,” Nicholas said.

The evangelist said “the enemy” knows the young men have great abilities, and that is why he is targeting them.

During the funeral, Kimani’s parents sat next to each other. As it ended and the body was being taken out of the church, his mother broke down in tears and relatives consoled her.

Kimani’s body was be taken to the Brighton Cato Cemetery in Gonzales Village, on the outskirts of the borough.

Investigations are ongoing.