DON’T PREY ON CHILDREN
By JULIEN NEAVES Friday, April 18 2014
Murdered infants Omari and Keanna Mayers were given an emotional send off yesterday, including a final touch from their mother, Okilia Mayers, who went as far as placing baby bottles, a comforter, and a pillow for them to rest their heads in the tiny white casket they shared.
For her 11-month-old son Omari, also called Buba, she placed the comforter and for his two-year-old sister, Keanna, also known as Keke, she placed a pillow. She fixed their funeral clothes, touched them and gave each their baby bottles.
The funeral service for the two children, murdered by their father last weekend, was held yesterday at the Barataria Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ninth Street, Barataria. Keanna would have turned three on May 28 and Omari would have turned one-year-old on May 17.
They were both dressed in white and lying in one white casket with caramel brown lines, their heads resting against each other. On the inside of the casket there was a large picture of children cartoon characters Dora the Explorer and Diego on the inside. The programme also featured Dora and Diego on all four pages. Some mourners wore T-shirts with pictures of the two children.
Mayers was scheduled to deliver the eulogy but after repeated calls from Elder Jona Dolly she remained in her seat. The children’s great uncle Lennard Mayers delivered a brief, impromptu eulogy. He recalled Keanna was very “womanish” from very young and Omari was strong in stature like Samson. He noted that not having children himself Buba was “his boy”.
“God help the person who put them to sleep today. I cannot understand that. That is for the Holy Spirit to reveal for me,” he said.
He thanked God for their time on earth and told the congregation that if they praise and thank God they will see them again.
The two children were killed by their father Barry Karamath, 33, who then committed suicide by drinking weedicide on the night of Saturday April 12 into the following morning. According to autopsy results the children died from asphyxia.
The bodies of the three were found in a bamboo patch at Mora Trace, Matura in Toco by pumpkin farmer Luke Hamiliton. The bodies were found on a pink blanket with a gallon bottle of “All Grass” weedicide nearby. During the night, Karamath sent seven text messages to Mayers, detailing his plan to commit the murders. He was buried on Monday.
Pastor Neive George in his sermon said, “We have all come here to recognise that the loss of these two beautiful children is not just Miss Mayers’ loss but they are our loss. It is a loss of the nation,” he said.
He said the family unit is crumbling and in pursuit of wealth and prosperity, we are losing the moral and spiritual values that the late former President and Prime Minister Arthur NR Robinson had spoken of.
“We were once a nation that prayed. When did we stop p-r-a-y-i-n-g, praying for our children of our nation and start p-r-e-y-i-n-g on them? When did we move from praying to preying? When our children are no longer safe in our society because we have become so insensitive,” he said.
He noted Keanna and Omari cry out for the other children in society. He stressed that our children do not belong in trash bins, barrels and toilets but in our arms.
He said we will never get answers why the children were killed.
“Something like this makes no sense. And we can turn the equation all how it will never, ever make sense,” he added.
He noted we should be coming to church to praise God for the Easter weekend and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and “we should not have to come into the house of the Lord to lay to rest our children”.
“The loss of two lives is too much for us too much to accept as normal. Too much to accept as just another passing,” he said.
He noted, though we have been wounded, we should not be broken as a community, adding that as long as God lives there is hope.
George said on the eve of Easter just like Jesus, the two children were taken like martyrs in a senseless act and their blood cries out like Abel in the Bible, reminding society that our children are our most important treasures.
“We may be rich in mineral resources, we may build great buildings, we may build great things, we may have the best education in the world but unless we take care of our children we are losing our best resources,” he stressed.
George also referenced the suicide of Karamath as he prayed for broken marriages and families in crisis. He noted for some people, things get so dark that they see no better way than to take their own life or to take the life of others. He encouraged those to seek counselling but most of all to seek Jesus.
He said there is always a way out and we should not take matters into our own hands.
“God gave you these children to protect, not to prey on,” he said.
To Mayers, he told her everyone was here for her and while some of her questions will never get answered, she should allow time and God to heal her heart. George said he was scared that we were beginning to accept things like these as normal because with every life lost the society was losing part of its humanity.
“Our nation will not have a future if we keep burying our children,” he said.
He said while the Government and the police have a responsibility, the change needs to begin in our own homes. He also noted it was important to pray but it will not take the place of duty and urged religious leaders to step out from their pews and go into communities and implement social projects.
He said the country needs to turn around and we cannot keep having the deaths of children and more road deaths, and we cannot wash our hands in the waters of indifference like Pontius Pilate.
“We have already had too much. It’s time to stop,” he said.
George encourged the congregation to honour these two beautiful children by not allowing other children to have their rights stolen from them. He said just as Jesus’ death was not in vain the deaths of the children must not be in vain but it must inspire change in our lives.
During the final viewing many relatives wept and sobbed openly. The children were later buried at the San Juan Public Cemetery.