Pastor: A dark day for Trinidad and Tobago as murdered siblings buried

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The murdered Peterkin siblings were given a joint funeral service at Allen’s Funeral Chapel in Arima on Friday. The four were killed at their Heights of Guanapo home on September 4. – Roger Jacob

“A dark tragedy.”

This was how Pastor Marlon Alvarez described the murders of siblings Faith, ten, Arianna, 14, Shain, 17 and Tiffany Peterkin, 19.

He made the comment as their friends and relatives gathered at Allen’s Funeral Home in Arima to pay their last respects to the slain siblings, who were among nine people shot as they slept in their home in Heights of Guanapo last Thursday.

People wept as they walked past the four painted caskets which stood side by side at the front of the chapel. Shain’s coffin was in blue and the girls’ coffins in pink.

Attendees attempted to console their parents, Sean Peterkin and Anesa Mohamed, who sat in the front row hugging the younger of their two surviving children tightly.

Pastor Alvarez lamented the “numbness” in the nation, adding that murders have now become an everyday occurrence that people have “become desensitised to.”

He encouraged people paying tributes at the funeral service to talk about the strengths, hopes, dreams, character, talents and gifts of each victim and what made them special.

His challenge was accepted as a neighbour recalled how eager the children were to lend a helping hand.

“Every one of them always helpful. It real hard to know we lose four of them at the same time.”

A tribute by Faith’s classmates at Santa Rosa Government Primary School brought tears to everyone’s eyes as suggested that she will always be with them in spirit.

“I am so sorry to hear that Faith Peterkin has died. You’ll always (be) there in your seat. Rest in Peace. Love you.”

Another neighbour described them as the most amazing children and praised their respectful and humble demeanour.

“Everybody in the community is ‘aunty’ and ‘uncle’ to them. You hardly get children in the community to do that right now.” She recalled them taking their animals to graze every morning and bringing them back home in the evenings.

“Their dad spent the majority of his time and effort and money to purchase animals for his children and…if it have no grass, yuh seeing all ah dem with a little cutlass, cutting bush and bringing it in. They valued what they parents had. They know what it was like to be hungry. They never make a fuss for nothing. Hard-working, loving, honest children.”

She dispelled rumours surrounding the cause of the murders saying, “Whatever rumours yuh hear it wasn’t true, these were the most loving children ever.”

Member of Parliament for Arima Pennelope Beckles-Robinson shared similar sentiments as she urged people not to jump to conclusions.

“I just want to urge all of those present not to judge. It’s too easy for us to make comments when we don’t have the facts, and we don’t know exactly what happened.” She added, “This is not the time for us to come to all kinds of conclusions other than to pray for ourselves, Arima and our country and because this is really a terrible time and it is difficult to comfort people on a day like today.”

JUSTICE FROM GOD: Pastor Marlon Alvarez says the murdered Peterkin siblings will get justice from God. He was speaking during their funeral at Allen’s Funeral Chapel in Arima on Friday. – Roger Jacob

She called for people to focus on togetherness, saying, “Too many of us in communities spend too much time arguing with each other over little things and not realising that tomorrow we could be gone. And as MP, I deal with those things sometimes and I have to remind people that when we (die), we carry nothing with us.”

Alvarez, in his sermon, called on those who know of illegal activities in their home or communities to do the right thing.

“We don’t want to take sides because we don’t want to become the victim but by not taking a side, you are taking a side. When we stay silent, eventually the bullets reach by us,” he warned.

He said parents must take their responsibilities seriously and look at themselves before blaming the government.

“We have allowed our children to do what the hell they want, and now when we are reaping the consequences, we want to blame the Prime Minister, the opposition leader and the minister of national security. Hell no. They are not responsible.”

“How have we gotten here in the first place? Because some dotish individual decided to do something wrong and nobody said anything. Nobody did anything.”

“We sit in our homes and watch them on the block, in front the house, and we do nothing. We watch them bringing the gun home, we watch them bringing drugs home, we watch them stealing and lying, and we partake of what they bring, and we do nothing.

“Then we want to hold our head and bawl and talk about ‘the state of our nation’ but is we make it so.” Alvarez issued a warning to the people responsible for the murders.

“To the person or persons that have caused to be in this dark moment and have many other people across this nation in similar circumstances…God is coming for you. Believe me, he is coming for you.”

“And if you think there are not going to be consequences for your actions, believe me, consequences are coming,” he warned. He sought to assure the parents that justice would be served.

“When people think they get away, and when people think no justice will be served…justice will always be served. If it’s not served in a court of law, it will be served by the judge who sees everything in this world.”

He added, “There’s coming a day when God will corner (the) murderer and they will not be able to escape. That might be at the hands of the police or the justice system but they cannot escape the hand of God one way or the other.”