Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 30th 2013 Contents A5
Saturday, November 30, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A red cloth tied around her
head and wearing a black gown,
child rights activist Verna St
Rose-Greaves disrupted Parlia-
ment sitting shortly after the ses-
sion began yesterday, shouting
that Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar had failed the
nation s children and it can no
longer be business as usual.
"It cannot be business as usual.
Our children are dying. Our chil-
dren are being killed. Do some-
thing. Oh God," she screamed hys-
terically from the public gallery.
"Get up! Get up!"
Her action, which sent police
officers in a scurry and caused MPs
to rise in preparation for flight,
came shortly before the patholo-
gist s report which said six-year
old Keyana Cumberbatch of Mal-
oney was killed and then sexually
molested was aired on the radio.
St Rose-Greaves was unaware
of this at the time and when she
was informed later by the media
outside Parliament, she moaned,
wept and vomited.
After protesting in front of Par-
liament in Tower D on the Port-
of-Spain Waterfront, she went and
sat quietly in the public gallery.
She was heading, barefooted,
into the building when a police
officer stopped her. She went and
put on her slippers and returned.
Officers tried to get her to take off
the red head cloth but she refused.
Unsuspecting Speaker of the
House Wade Mark read the prayer
and Parliament settled down into
its normal routine.
About 20 minutes after, while
Justice Minister Minister
Emmanuel George was on his feet
giving a statement on the prisons
reform committee, St Rose-
Greaves suddenly shouted, shat-
tering the silence of the chamber,
"We are not dealing with the busi-
ness of children. You all just sitting
down there and pretending."
Police rushed over, attempting
to restrain her but were forced to
"Don t put you hand on me,
please," she warned. "Don t pull
Mark stood up and sought, in
vain, to pacify her, "Alright, alright."
But St Rose-Greaves would not be
"This sitting is suspended for
ten minutes," Mark said.
All MPs, in unison, rose and
stood frozen, as if afraid to move.
By this time, St Rose-Greaves
was shouting and bawling hys-
"Oh God. What allyuh doing?
Kamla you fail us. You make a
commitment and you sabotage
the work." Officers tried to restrain
her again, but she said, "Don t
House Speaker Wade Mark and
the entire House was silent as St
Rose-Greaves shouted and bawled
until back up security arrived.
"Allyuh coming for me with
gun," she said, as she allowed them
to escort her out of the chamber,
warning them again not to put
them hands on her.
Outside Parliament at Tower D
on the Port-of-Spain Waterfront,
St Rose-Greaves picked up her
bell and, ringing it loudly, marched
up and down.
A female police inspector went
up to her and spoke quietly and
she picked up her white cloth and
other belongings and marched off
in the direction of the Breakfast
She had preceded her disruption
of Parliament by shouting at var-
ious MPs, Government and Oppo-
sition, on their way to Parliament,
begging them to do something to
She had arrived in front of Par-
liament around midday with a
little chair. She spread a white
cloth on the ground, and placed
a book by Michael Als on it and
a large brass bell and sat near it,
She shouted at Minister of Gen-
der, Youth and Child Development
Clifton de Coteau, former minister
in the ministry Ramona Ramdial
and new St Joseph MP Terrence
Deyalsingh as they passed by.
Simone Williams, the mother of murdered six-year-old Keyana Cumberbatch, is
assisted by her father, Simon Harris, and another relative as she collapsed after
identifying her daughter's body at the Forensic Science Centre, St James,
yesterday. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
In her dying moments, six-year-
old Keyana "Ki-Ki" Cumberbatch was
sexually assaulted by her killer, an
autopsy revealed yesterday.
She died as a result of massive cere-
Forensic pathologist Dr Valery
Alexandrov told members of the media,
following the post-mortem at the
Forensic Science Centre, St James, that
the child was struck on the head so
severely that her skull was cracked at
the base. He added that after she was
hit and was unconscious she was sex-
Alexandrov confirmed that Cum-
berbatch, who was found inside a card-
board shipping barrel in her Maloney
Gardens home on Thursday afternoon,
was already dead when she was put
there. He added that the sexual abuse
against the child was the first, dismiss-
ing rumours that she child might have
been a victim of prolonged sexual abuse.
Alexandrov said he could not deter-
mine the length of time Cumberbatch
would have been dead before she was
discovered. The child s body was
Alexandrov said the severity of the
head injury was similar to those suffered
in car accidents and could never have
been as a result of a fall. Keyana was
held by the chest so tightly that there
was bruising in the area.
Police found Keyana s body in her
mother s three-bedroom apartment
three days after she went missing. The
child was last seen heading to her
grandmother s house with her younger
sister. She never arrived.
Police said she was found beneath
pieces of clothing inside a barrel and
were alerted by the child s mother
Simone Williams, who was alerted by
a foul scent in her apartment on Thurs-
Williams was unable to speak with
members of the media as she was
inconsolable throughout her stay at the
Forensic Science Centre. On two occa-
sions she had to be held up by relatives
as she nearly collapsed.
Cumberbatch s grandfather, Simon
Harris, told the media he could not
express how he felt after Alexandrov
revealed the cause of his granddaugh-
ter s death.
Director of St Rose Funeral Home
Nicholas St Rose told the media that
he would bear the costs of the funeral
of the little girl.
Hysterical over Keyana's killing...
Girl sexually assaulted
by her killer---autopsy
Chairman of the Children s
Authority Stephanie Daly said
there was nothing that could
have been done in the circum-
stances to save six-year-old
Daly spoke in an interview with
reporters at Parliament, Tower D,
Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain
She said no matter what legis-
lation was proclaimed, "There is
no way anybody could protect
every child in the nation. There
will always be people who will be
abused because it happens in their
What the authority was trying
to implement, she said, was a
much stronger response and pro-
Commenting on Keyana s death,
Daly said she was shocked, and
upset and abuse by a person of
trust is worse than abuse by oth-
ers, but it was not appropriate to
feel "that anything we can do
would necessarily have prevented
that particular child s disaster."
She said the authority was
working hard to ensure the leg-
islation could be fully implemented
in the shortest possible time.
"There is absolutely no point
giving people new legislation if
the product isn t there to support
that legislation," Daly said. Trying
to fully implement the legislation
without the necessary structures
in place, she said, would only lead
to more confusion.
Earlier in the same impromptu
briefing, Gender and Child Devel-
opment Minister Clifton De
Coteau said legislation to protect
children---the Children Act---can-
not be fully implemented until
specific support services were
In expressing his sadness over
the killing, De Coteau said three
measures must be proclaimed in
tandem to establish a new child
Later in an interview with
reporters, De Coteau said St Rose-
Greaves and PNM MP Dr Amery
Browne were trying to politicise
a matter in which lives were being
lost. What should be done instead,
he argued, was for all parties to
work together to "see how we
could remove this malaise that is
pervading the society, instead of
He also dismissed a call for
Daly s resignation.
Chairman of Children's Authority:
We can't protect every child
POLICE SERVICE 999
SERVICES DIVISION 627-1163
VICTIM AND WITNESS
SUPPORT UNIT 624-8853
CHILD GUIDANCE CLINIC
Links Archive November 29th 2013 December 1st 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page