Lopinot/Bon Air West MP: Don’t let Amarah’s death be in vain

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A poster of Amarah Lallitte at her funeral service. – Photo by Roger Jacob

“Do not let the death of four-year-old Amarah Lallitte be in vain, but let it transform Trinidad and Tobago into a better country.”

Lopinot/Bon Air MP Marvin Gonzales made the plea at the toddler’s funeral held on April 20, at the Faith Assembly International Church in Five Rivers, Arouca.

Amarah was killed on April 8, at her home at Fifth Street, Arouca. Her body was discovered in one room and police found her head in a barrel at the back of the house.

The news of her brutal death outraged the country.

Gonzales, who was asked to speak at the service by the family, asked, “Where does the nation go from here after Amarah was laid to rest?”

He said he doubted there could be a return to candlelight vigils and normal lives.

“What has happened to this beautiful angel speaks to a darkness in the conscience of our nation, and what we do to confront that darkness is a personal decision everyone has to make. It is not only the responsibility of the police, the councillor, and the church, it is the responsibility of every single one of us.

“The way we speak to each other, the way we speak to our children, the way we use situations to cry down and rip each other into pieces, the way we are judgemental to each other, the fact we cannot find forgiveness when all that should really be done is to find forgiveness and offer forgiveness and love.”

Lopinot/Bon Air West MP Marvin Gonzales, second from right, at the funeral service of Amarah Lallitte, in Five Rivers, Arouca on April 20. – Photo by Roger Jacob

Gonzales, as well as presiding minister Rev Roger Holder, said people had lost compassion in how they spoke to each other. Gonzales criticised people for the statements they made after the murder.

“I think we speak too much as a society, we speak too much because the things that come out of our mouths paint a very dark picture of us as a society. Even in the darkness of Amarah’s death, some amongst us found it deep within their souls to express words we should all be ashamed of,” he said.

Amarah’s mother, Tricia Villaroel, was supported by her family, including Amarah’s sister Elleanna, and members of the police Victim and Witness Support Unit as she gave the eulogy. She said Amarah was a beautiful soul taken far too soon.

“At just four years old she radiated joy and innocence, her laughter had a melody that brightened any room she entered. Amarah was a beacon of light, an overflowing source of love and kindness. Her gentle spirit knew no bounds, always willing to lend a hand, she embodied a true essence of compassion and generosity. Whether it was offering a hug to someone in need or sharing her toys with a friend, Amarah’s heart overflowed with love. Her laughter echoed like chimes in the wind, a reminder of the pure joy she brought into our lives. In her short time with us, she taught us the importance of cherishing every single moment and to embrace the simple pleasures of life,” Villaroel said.

Villaroel said that even though Amarah’s life was taken in a manner too horrific to comprehend, the family chose to remember her for the happiness she brought into the world.

She thanked those who had supported the family, including the police, government officials and the community.

When she entered the auditorium walking alone behind her daughter’s casket, she was visibly holding herself together.

Tricia Villaroel is consoled after the funeral service of her daughter Amarah Lallitte at the Faith Assembly International Church, Five Rivers, Arouca on April 20. – Photo by Roger Jacob

Her father Shannon Lallitte paid tribute to his daughter with a poem. He said God had sent Amarah to baby heaven.

“You weren’t strong enough to thrive and grow. You will always be to me so perfect, pure and innocent. Me and my family thought of you and our life and your life, we waited long for you to join our family and listen to you.

“Tricia will always be your mother, and I, Shannon Lallitte, will always be your dad. You will always be our child, even though you are gone. We will sense you everywhere. You are our sorrow and you are our joy. There’s love in every tear. Just know your love goes deep and strong. Everyone that came out here today, and those listening, will never forget you, Amarah Rose Lallitte.”

Although Lallitte and Villaroel did not interact during the service, he said no mother should ever have to walk this lonely and painful road and Amarah’s death was a heavy load.

Amarah’s grandmother, Annette Lallitte, said in her wildest dreams she never imagined burying her granddaughter, who brought joy to the family’s hearts and whose zeal for life was unwavering.

Following the funeral, Shannon Lallite called for the erection of a statue of Amarah with the inscription “Stop Child Abuse.” He said child abuse was a serious problem in Trinidad and Tobago and needed to be addressed.

Shannon Lallitte, right, is assisted as he carries the casket of his daughter out of the Faith Assembly International Church in Arouca on April 20. – Photo by Roger Jacob

He criticised the Prime Minister for not attending the funeral and said he had sent a picture of Amarah to the PM’s office and received only a note that his correspondence had been received.

Approximately 100 people turned out for the funeral, dressed mostly in white and black. Although the weather was hot at the beginning of the service, there was a soft drizzle as mourners left the building.

Amarah’s stepfather, Inshan Constant, 39, has been charged with her murder. He has been referred to the St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital for a mental evaluation.

Poem for Amarah

“God took Amarah Lallitte in his arms and kissed her on her cheek

He said, now close your eyes angel, and try hard not to peek.

You are off to baby heaven, a paradise above

Where perfect baby angels watch over those they love.

I know how much I miss you, and I’m reminded with each tear

I only wish I could see you with joy and beauty here.

The time will come, dear daughter, when I will be with you again

But you are in baby heaven watching over us until then.

If I had one wish, I would wish for you

Then all my dreams would come true

To love you forever, each and every day

I will remember that sweet face each and every day.

And in my broken heart is where you will stay.

A little diamond so precious and dear

In our hearts, you are always there.

Though your time with us was brief

Your spirit brings us peace and relief.

Though you are gone from out of sight, you never will depart/ For you will forever live in our hearts.

Although I only had you briefly, before they took you away from me/ It was worth every pain, every tear shed because I treasure the love you inspired in me.

I dreamed a little dream once upon a time.

I dream we’ll be together one day, my sweet little child.

Sadly that dream was not meant to be

And it’s very difficult to know that you won’t be coming to me.”