The tears were flowing freely down the cheeks of those who gathered at the Church of the Nazarene at Collymore Rock, St Michael this afternoon as they bade farewell to Kemar Alex Imar Gooding, the young ZR conductor who was killed late last month at the River bus terminal.
“That can’t be Imar in that box” one mourner said, looking on and shaking his head in disbelief as Gooding’s shiny casket was escorted into the church by pall-bearers, amidst doleful wailing.
Family, friends, public service vehicle operators and well-wishers, including the incumbent for St George South Dwight Sutherland of the Barbados Labour Party and Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, the Democratic Labour Party candidate for the area, huddled into one family, consoling each other while still trying to come to grips with a life many said ended much too soon.
Police said the 23-year-old Gooding of Ellerton, St George was stabbed on March 28 and died while receiving treatment in the Accident and Emergency department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Delivering the eulogy written by Gooding’s older brother who is pursing studies in Spain, Cedric Vaughan described the deceased as a friendly sweet-talker who loved his family and his two children.
“Kemar was a loving, adventurous and open-hearted person. He had the heart of a trickster and the mouth of a charmer. As gran would always say,’he mouth too sweet’. We all would have been familiar with him in some kind of way.
“He was a loving and very devoted father. One of the things that made me most proud was to see his interaction with his two children and the pleasure he took with having them with him,” Vaughan read.
“He promised mum five children and as you can see he has got two. I don’t know what mum was thinking, but I said to myself ‘I don’t know where this boy come from,’” he continued.
Vaughan said Gooding was curious about life “from such a young age”, and he made friends easily, recalling that within a week of moving to Wotton, Christ Church, the young man “was already playing dominoes with neighbours and friends”.
“He really gave his all for those he cared about. Not only did this boy have a curious nature but he had a love and passion for his family. His Easter time was dedicated to kite flying with his father or brother. There was never a quiet or dull moment in the house when he was around. You could always expect care from Kemar,” he concluded.
The pain felt by Cherish Maynard could not be contained even as she paid tribute in song.
Singing No More Nights, No More Pain, No More Tears, Never Cry Again, Maynard broke down in tears and had to be comforted by loved ones.
In his brief sermon Reverend David Holder encouraged the young congregants to give their lives to God, especially in their heyday.
“People say that you are young only once and that is true. Youth is a gift. In all your doings and enjoyment remember there is a God. Remember now the Creator in the days of your youth.
“The best time to know God is not when you get old and have arthritis and having medical and physical problems; the best time to know God is when you are young, sharp and have it all together. Don’t let the party, fetes and Crop Over pull you down,” he said.