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Mom in shock

Thursday, June 5 2014

AS INVESTIGATIONS are continuing into the drowning death of five-year-old Jomila Agard, the baby’s heartbroken mother will next Monday bid a final, tearful goodbye at the funeral service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-of-Spain.

Jomila’s mother Jamila Forde is struggling to come to term with the tragic death of her daughter, other relatives told Newsday yesterday during an interview at the family home in Rose Hill, East Dry River, Port-of-Spain.

Relatives said Forde has grown weak as she is not eating properly and only drinks water since her daughter’s death. They said that the mother is too weak even to stand. Relatives said Forde constantly holds the little bathing suit and swimming cap Jomila wore when she drowned.

“Up to now, no counselor, no MP, no police...no one has visited to show some kind of support to Jamila and the rest of the family in our moment of grief. No one. We are all taking this hard especially the mother,” said a relative who described baby Jomila as the family’s “sweetbread.”

Relatives, who asked not to be named, said that even at that young age, Jomila had taken a keen interest in gymnastics dancing, music and swimming. She was an active child who took to swimming since she was three.

Jomila drowned on Monday at the YMCA swimming pool in Woodbrook during a swimming session she and other schoolmates of Sharon’s Pre-School were engaged in. Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the child’s drowning.

“Right now it’s just talk we are hearing. We don’t know exactly how it is that Jomila drowned in that pool. Was there a headcount down? We don’t know. Were all of the students who went to the pool, supposed to be in the water at the same time or in batches? We don’t know.

“Were there flotation devices in the water or proper adult supervision, again we don’t know. There are so many questions that are yet to be answered,” relatives said.

Several parents who gathered outside the pre-school on Murray Street to pick up their children spoke highly of the school staff saying that the school has been in operation of over 30 years and this is the first time something like this has happened.

School principal Simon Mariott told Newsday investigations are in the hands of the police and his focus is on helping those affected, to get through the grieving process. Several teachers said Jomila’s death had left them traumatised.

Inspector Wayne Mystar, at the weekly police press briefing yesterday said, “investigators have gotten the autopsy results and today (yesterday) members of the YMCA will be interviewed. Also the school’s principal and teachers...they too will be interviewed.

“We are investigating and if there is any evidence to suggest some form of neglect, the law will take its natural course. We want to appeal to members of the public, parents, guardians, teachers, those persons who have supervisory powers over children, they have a responsibility of care to supervise those children in a meaningful way.”

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