Tears flow for Shante
Student athlete Danielle Hartwell of Vere Technical High School was not her usual self yesterday.
Hartwell, cousin of slain Shante Skyers, had to be restrained as she wanted to see her one last time.
With tears streaking down her face she said: "If mi nuh see 'Birdie' mi can't run again. If mi nuh see Birdie mi nuh want go farin go run. Me want see Birdie!"
Unfortunately, Shante's casket remained closed.
The funeral was very eventful yesterday as mourners from near and far crammed inside the Meadowvale Seventh-day Adventist Church to say farewell.
Raw emotion was on show as tears flowed and anger was spewed openly by several mourners at the manner in which the eight-year-old former Red Hills Primary School girl met her demise.
Shante went missing on April 11, and was found dead in her community of Sterling Castle Heights in Red Hills on April 16.
The grade three student disappeared after she was last seen walking from school through a popular but lonely pathway that leads to her home.
An angry mourner said: "Heng dem. Dem fi heng dem. Look how dem do the little baby. Too much pickney a dead."
Shante's funeral was used as a platform to remind the society of the ongoing crisis affecting Jamaica's children.
A tribute, in the form of a song, was done by Shante's schoolmates; their little voices delivered the apt lines, " Please don't let them hurt your children... Keep them safe and warm".
Member of Parliament for West Rural St Andrew, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, gave a teary tribute and called for more social workers to be quickly installed in communities.
She also asked men specifically to protect and not harm children.
"Stop impregnating young girls leaving them to be single mothers," an adamant Cuthbert-Flynn said.
The MP was among several persons who were inconsolable as they mourned. Some even fainted in the church and had to be assisted by medical personnel.
Following the service, the procession left for St Catherine where Shante was then laid in her final resting place at the Dovecot Memorial Park.