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June 03, 2020

Do not flinch in the face of adversity

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June 03, 2020

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LYSTRA Simmons, grandmother of slain Form Four student 16-year-old Noah Simmons, said while she could try to forget seeing his dead body on the ground she could not forgive his killer.

“The Lord says to forgive and forget. I might forget a little bit but, forgive, I don’t think I am able to do that.

He (killer) had no right to take Noah away from me. To see that the person who did it was standing right there, it was not nice. I will never forgive that person, sorry to say,” Simmons, 68, said yesterday.

Simmons, who cared for Noah, was speaking at his funeral held at JE Guide Funeral Home and Crematorium in San Fernando where hundreds of mourners bade farewell to the aspiring footballer.

On Tuesday, the day he turned 16, a gunman shot Noah in the chest and killed him. The incident happened next door to his home at Train Line, Union Park East in Marabella.

Noah was a member of Shiva Boys Hindu College football team and the Marabella Family Crisis Centre.

According to police, the killer shot Noah because he usually spoke to a girl from the community.

Simmons recalled that she was watching television with her phone in hands when she heard a gunshot. The grieving grandmother said she ran from the chair and looked through her kitchen window where she saw Noah’s body on the ground. Noah was buried in his football uniform. On top of his blue coffin was a football next to a bouquet of flowers.

Throughout the service, his pregnant mother Aneiasha Blackburn sat on a chair next to the coffin. Blackburn who is in the third trimester of her pregnancy lives in Tobago. She told mourners Noah always had a passion for football and referred to himself as “the next (Lionel) Messi.” She recalled the last conversation with him at 6.30 am on Tuesday.

“I said ‘Happy birthday son. I love you and hope that you live to see many more.’ About an hour after, I got this tingling feeling. Then I got a call. I did not believe it. Then they sent a picture of him like a piece of paper on the ground. It is really sad,” Blackburn said.

She said, though she had gone through “trials and tribulations” during her life, she never turned her back on her children.

Blackburn and other mourners referred to Noah as a happy child who always had a smile on his face.

“Wherever he is right now, I know he is skinning his teeth. I am trying to stay strong for Noah and my unborn child as well. God is the boss.”

Addressing mourners, Blackburn’s mother Debbie said there was a perception that nothing good could come out of “The Line” but that was not true. She thanked Terrence “Terry” Boissiere of the Marabella Family Crisis Centre for the work he did for the community.

“Noah is with the angels in the heaven. Today no matter what, he will be successful in heaven with the angels,” Debbie said.

Principal of Shiva Boys Hindu College Dexter Sakal recalled fond moments with Noah who he said was happy in the school. He said Noah was extremely talented, like other students. Apart from being sad over the circumstances in which Noah met his death, Sakal said he felt angry. He felt that he “could have done more” for Noah.

Pastors Farouk and Vilma Mohammed officiated at the service. Up to last evening, the killer remained on the run and some mourners yesterday called for him to give himself up to police.

Police from Homicide Bureau Region III are investigating.

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