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La Romaine residents in mourning after fire...
Some 15 children have died in tragic
circumstances so far this year:
March 1: On Carnival Saturday, Quelly Ann
Cottle, 38, gave birth by caesarian section to
baby Simeon at the Mt Hope Women's
Hospital. During the procedure, the surgical
blade made a seven-centimetre cut in his head.
The child lived for five hours.
April 13: Ten-month-old Omari "Buba"
Mayers and his sister, three-year-old Keanna
"Keke" Mayers, killed by their father, Barry
Karamath, 33, who fed them poison before
taking his own life at Matura.
April 18 (Good Friday): Three-month-old
Akiela Gill found dead at the Sea Lots home of
her father. An autopsy by forensic pathologist
Dr Hughvon des Vignes showed the baby
choked on her own vomit.
May 13: Seventeen-month-old Jaedon
Cudjoe found dead nine hours after his
grandfather forgot him in the back seat of his
car.May 28: Javier de Freitas, three, died in a fire
which destroyed his family's Sea Lots home.
June 1: Brothers Jadel Holder, nine and
Jamal Braithwaite, 15, made to lie on the floor
of their Morvant home by gunmen who shot
them once each in the back of the head.
June 1: Christian Obadele Gonzales, 23
months, drowned in a pond used for baptism by
his father, a Baptist priest, at the family's
June 3: Jemimah Agard, five, drowned on a
school visit to the Young Men's Christian
Association (YMCA) pool, Port-of-Spain
June 6: Matai Phillip, the ten-month-old son
of national goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, died from
positional asphyxia caused by the car seat in
which he was left at the Anointed Angels
daycare at Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas.
June 8: Jessica Mohammed, of Erin, of
injuries suffered in a car accident a week before.
June 13: Eleven-year-old Rehanna Briggs
died from accidental asphyxia while dancing
with a blouse hanging from a clothes line at her
June 15: Six-month-old Christopher
Rambahan died while being breastfed by his
mother at Chaguanas.
June 17: Four-year-old Kimora Millette dies
in a fire at her family's La Romaine home.
15 CHILDREN DIE TRAGICALLY
for 17th JUNE, 2014
"Oh God! Why are these things hap-
pening to little children?" La Romaine res-
ident Donna Banfield cried yesterday as
undertakers removed the little body of
four-year-old Kimora Millette, who died
in a house fire.
Although Betsy Street residents formed
a bucket brigade and managed to extinguish
the blaze, Kimora s burnt body was found
huddled at the side of a bed.
Kimora was the 15th child to die under
tragic circumstances since March 1 this year,
when baby Simeon Cottle died hours after
a botched caesarian section on his mother
Quelly Ann at the Mt Hope Women s Hos-
Kimora and her twin sister, Kiara, were
in a bedroom at their grandmother Brenda
Millette s home moments before tragedy
struck yesterday. The girls were waiting for
the school bus to take them to the Head
Start Pre-school a short distance away at
Shortly after 8 am, Millette, 55, left them
in a bedroom watching television while she
tended to Banfield at the shop at the front
of the house.
Banfield said Kiara then suddenly ran
outside, telling them that Kimora had been
playing with a cigarette lighter and that
there was a fire.
"The little girl run out the room and say,
mama, mama, fire! " Banfield told the T&T
Millette ran inside, Banfield said.
"And I started to bawl and call all the
neighbours around and we started a bucket
brigade. The grandmother and another
granddaughter were inside already and they
tried to open the door but the room was
already engulfed in flames.
"Neighbours ran in and put out the fire.
Everybody saw the child and even threw a
blanket on her head," she recalled.
Only the bedroom was damaged, accord-
ing to firefighters who responded to the call.
Police, led by Insp Don Gajadhar, Insp
Yusuff Gaffar and Cpl Kerry Morales, spent
hours at the scene while firefighters tried
to find out what caused it. Preliminary
checks revealed the child was playing with
a cigarette lighter in the bedroom.
An autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr
Valery Alexandrov yesterday showed Kimora
died of smoke and soot inhalation. He said
although she suffered second-and third-
degree burns they occurred after she died.
Scores of neighbours gathered around the
family s home to sympathise with relatives
But for the twins mother, Marsha Cara-
bana, it was too much to bear and she had
to be taken to hospital. The girls father,
Ronan Millette, embraced Carabana as the
two struggled to come to terms with the
Millette, who works at Damus Ltd, said
Kimora was usually the first to greet him
when he returned from work. He managed
a smile as he described her as a fun-loving
"She was like any normal child, real lov-
ing. The both of them, actually. They had
their way. They were twins, so they were
miserable like normal but she was the more
Although there were reports that the child
had a cigarette lighter, Millette said he did
not know what had taken place. He said
because he left for work around 4.30 am,
it was customary for the children to be
dressed and sent to school by their grand-
Speaking of the growing number of child
deaths in T&T, he said it was only when
tragedy reaches "on your front steps," that
someone could fully understand what it felt
As relatives walked around overcome with
grief, a puzzled expression was on Kiara s
face as she rested in the arms of her pre-
school teacher Kathleen Skerritt.
Skerritt said she visited the family s home
to console the child after the bus driver told
her about the tragedy. Describing Kimora
as a loving child with a sunny personality,
she said the twins were happiest at school
when singing You Are My Sunshine.
Oropouche West MP Stacy Roopnarine
visited the family and said the Government
was prepared to assist them.
She said: "This really shows the need for
a greater emphasis on the supervision of
children. Parents have to ensure that they
always look at what their children are doing.
"As members of a community, members
of a village, we also have to take responsibility
for children in our communities.
Twin loses sibling
A police investigator, right, comforts Marsha Carabana, centre, mother of four-year-old
Kimora Millette, outside the family's home at Betsy Street, La Romaine, yesterday. Millette
died in a fire reportedly set accidentally with a cigarette lighter. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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