A grieving Tanya Smith, daughter of 75-year-old murder victim Marcelle Smith, is asking authorities why the man accused of killing her mother was allowed to be out on the streets even though he was facing a murder charge.
Smith raised the issue this morning before a congregation at the St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church where relatives and friends gathered at a funeral service to say goodbye to the deceased wife of retired Lodge School principal Aurelius Smith.
Smith’s body was found in a ravine at Halton Plantation, St Philip on October 24, almost two weeks after she was last seen at her Congo Road home, in the same parish. Cheriss Ricardo Omar Ince, of Nursery, St Philip has been charged with her murder – the second he now faces – and remanded to HMP Dodds.
The grieving daughter, with her brother at her side, said two years ago, retired Appeal Court judge Sir Frederick Smith, their uncle, had spoken at a similar occasion about the flaws in the justice system and had noted that justice delayed was justice denied.
“And here I am, two years later, pointing to those same flaws, which [led] to my mother’s demise. Why was this person on the street? Why did someone see fit to get him out, and why is it now being swept under the rug?”
Dignitaries who attended the sombre and reflective service included Sir Frederick, former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Philip Greaves, retired banking executive Sir Austin Sealy, Anglican priest and psychologist Rev. Marcus Lashley, and former St Joseph parliamentary representative Dame Maizie Barker Welch.
Smith described her mother as fun, vibrant, full of life, with nothing elderly about her, despite her age. The deceased was also remembered as a great bridge player, who won many tournaments and travelled the world to play the game which she adored and through which she had many friends, both locally and abroad.
She also travelled to visit her children and grandchildren, and derived much joy from watching the next generation grow, spoiling her grandchildren and doing things on her own terms. She also loved gardening and, according to her daughter, her hanging baskets were her pride and joy.
“Over the last few years as mother, grandmother, wife, sister and friend, she took on her most difficult task, caring for and managing the affairs of our dad, her husband for 55 years, who has dementia,” Smith told the silent gathering.
“Dad is not present today because of his condition, and I’m not sure he understands she is gone,” she noted.
Smith also described her Trinidad-born mother, who lived in Barbados for 50 years, as bold, brave, doing things her way, and never asking for permission but forgiveness.
“Mom always had a bright outlook and looked for the positives in life and, so now, I look for the positive here. She is leaving us with an impressive legacy: first and foremost, her children and grandchildren. And I am confident that she will leave a lasting legacy on Barbados far beyond what she could ever have imagined, and I know she will be proud,” the daughter said.
Delivering the sermon, Father Clement Paul told friends and family that though Marcelle was cruelly treated and died, maybe alone, God who loved her unconditionally was with her because she belonged to him.
“But one thing you know for sure, Marcelle, and that is that the resurrection will be yours. You like him [Jesus] will rise on the third day. May you rest in peace, Amen!” Father Paul said.
Marcelle’s decomposed body was cremated. Her ashes rested in a polished urn during the funeral service.