Lone survivor grieves for relatives who died in fire

Vijay was abducted from the family home some four years ago, and has not been seen since.

Malini, 18, a mother of one, wept during the funeral service and had to be comforted by her husband Narvin Sieunarine and other relatives.

For almost two hours, Malini, of Hindustan, sat and stared at the two white coffins — one containing the charred remains of her father, Ragkummar Denis Persad, 43, and brother Sanjay, 13, and the other, her mother Marilyn, 42, and sister, Ariyana, seven.

In previous publications, Persad’s age was given as 49 and his wife’s age as 48.

However, pamphlets at the funeral listed their dates of birth as December 13, 1965 and July 18, 1966, respectively.

From as early as 9 am yesterday, scores of villagers, friends and family gathered at the house of mourning at St Julien Village, Princes Town as rain poured. The funeral caused a huge traffic pile-up along the Naparima/Mayaro Road, and police officers had to direct motorists.

Speaking on behalf of Malini, Roland Persad, who delivered the eulogy, said that her parents’ love and comfort will not be here again and the time spent with them was too short. Malini also remembered her brother Vijay who was abducted from the family’s home and mini-mart at Indian Walk Village, Moruga, on June 21, 2004. He would have celebrated his 15th birthday last month.

Quoting from a written statement, Roland said: “To Vijay, I (Malini) think now is the time to say my final goodbye to you; I hope you are finally with mom, dad, Sanjay and Ariyana. Sanjay you left before we could spend your birthday on Sunday. God wanted you more, he had better plans for you.

“Roland continued in the words of Malini who was too distraught to speak: “Ariyana, I was deprived from seeing you grow into a beautiful young lady. You were a playful kid and loved being around Maya (Malini’s one-month-old daughter who was absent from the funeral service).

To mom, dad, Vijay, Sanjay and Ariyana, with deepest respect I say goodbye.” As Roland read the eulogy. Malini gazed at the two sealed coffins on which photos of her family were placed. Officiating pundit, Abhedanand Sharma Persad, told mourners that whether the fire was a work of God, or man, no one knows.

“We are not here to cast stones, or to point fingers.

If it is the work of God, then he recalled his children. But if it is man, what is the meaning of Thou shall not kill? If someone try to burn/cut/shoot/drown them, the real Denis, Marilyn, Sanjay and Ariyana are saved,” said Sharma. He asked God to bless the family, especially Malini and her family, in their time of bereavement.

After the service, both coffins were placed in a hearse and transported to the Shore of Peace cremation site at Mosquito Creek.

Staff members and classmates of Barrackpore Secondary School wept as they also paid final respects to Sanjay. He was a Form Two student of the school. Ariyana was a student of Robert Village Hindu Primary School, Tableland.

Princes Town North, Member of Parliament, Subhas Panday, attended the funeral service and expressed his condolences.

A fire gutted the family’s Moruga home on Saturday, killing all four occupants.

An autopsy performed on Monday at Forensic Science Centre stated that they died from smoke inhalation.


"Lone survivor grieves for relatives who died in fire"

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