Ministry of Education, Guyana

Monday, 09 March 2015 10:25

School teacher in Burma Road tragedy buried

School teacher Shondel Duke, one of seven victims of the Burma Road tragedy, was on Saturday laid to rest in her hometown at Rose Hall, Corentyne, Berbice.

Her burial followed an emotional farewell church service at Jerrick’s Funeral Home, at Paradise, East Coast Demerara.
The last of the victims to be buried, 40-year-old Duke was clad in a beautiful gold dress and laid in a plain white casket, which was adorned with wreaths and flowers as mourners including many relatives, friends and others from Mahaicony and its environs showed up to get a last glimpse of her.
The church service got underway after 11:00 hrs, as scores of people crowded the chapel at Jerrick’s Funeral Home to sing songs and hymns, and say prayers.
There wasn’t a dry eye as people took turns in viewing the body, after which it was transported to Rose Hall, Berbice for interment.
On February 20, 2015, the bodies of seven persons including six children were pulled from a canal at the Burma Road, where they were trapped in a car that was partly submerged.
The group of children and a teacher were returning home from Mashramani celebrations in Calcutta when the incident occurred.
They were the pupils and teacher of the Augsburg Primary School and had travelled along the Burma Road from their school that day to be part of a Mashramani celebration at the Novar Primary School, along with students from other schools in the area.
The children were identified as eight-year-old Grade 3 pupil, Justin Abel; seven-year-old Grade 2 pupil,, Rayden Abel; and 10-year-old Grade 5 pupil, Ayesha Abel, all from the same family; together with six-year-old Grade 1 pupil, Azidia Fraser; 10-year-old Grade 5 pupil, Atesha Woolford; eight-year-old Grade 2 pupil, Martina Persaud; and their teacher, Senior Mistress Shondel Duke.
The group was returning to their homes when tragedy struck, and the car they were travelling in apparently veered off the potholed road into a canal along the Burma Road.
As news of the incident was received, Government officials, including Education Minister, Priya Manickchand and Transport Minister, Robeson Benn, travelled to the community and met with residents and relatives at the hospital.
The following day, President Donald Ramotar, Opposition Leader David Granger and Ministers Manickchand and Benn visited the homes of the deceased and spoke with relatives.
The Government had offset funeral expenses for the bereaved families.
Post-mortems performed on the teacher and the six children revealed they had all died from drowning.
The three Abel siblings were laid to rest on Wednesday last, while the others were buried on Sunday last. Miriam Persaud was cremated last Monday.

Source: Guyana Chronicle

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