Tears flowed freely and loud screams interrupted the sombre mood at the Bushy Park, St Philip cemetery this afternoon as three grieving siblings buried their mother Daile Sutton and their brother Keno, who were murdered last month.
“I want my mummy, mummy gone, my mummy gone,” Sutton’s daughter Kema cried out as she watched her mother’s casket lowered into an eight-foot grave.
The cries got even louder when Keno’s casket descended to rest on top of his mother’s, and the cavity was covered.
Sutton’s son Kemo had to be held tightly by loved ones to prevent him from making his way into the grave with his beloved mother and brother. Through the difficult period, the siblings took time to hug and comfort each other.
Sutton, a National Conservation Commission (NCC) employee, her 24-year-old son, and 23-year-old Kyle Parris who many described as Sutton’s son-in-law were all gunned down just after 1 a.m. on May 14 at the family’s River Land, St Philip home. Two of Sutton’s surviving children were also at the house at the time the invasion took place but managed to escape the execution-style murder.
As uniformed law enforcement members watched, scores of mourners, particularly residents of the close-knit River Land community, attended the farewell service held at the gravesite for just over an hour.
Noting that he was filled with grief and sadness, former Member of Parliament for St Philip North, Queen’s Counsel Michael Lashley described Sutton, also known as Dilly or Matrix, as a close friend he met in 2001.
Lashley said in May 2003 when he was elected as the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate to run against Rudolph Cappy Greenidge, Sutton was the first at his side demanding posters and t-shirts to wear every day of the week. She also attended every single meeting. He said he formed the opinion there and then that the deceased was genuine and loyal because she was not obligated to support him but she did. Lashley said because of Sutton’s faithfulness he insisted that she was at his side when he celebrated that victory in 2003.
“However, there was another side to Dilly. Dilly loved her children. She would do anything within the law to protect her children. Her focus was on her children. She had a serious conversation with me in 2007 just before elections. She said she would like a steady job so she could save some money to get a house for her children so they could be happy.
“She said to me ‘I want my own roof over my head”. In 2008 when I became Minister of Housing and responsible for NHC [National Housing Corporation] the General Manager said to me that they have three vacancies and they need three maids to work at the head office. I picked my phone and called Dilly and said ‘you starting work on Monday’.
“She said ‘but I ain’t got no clothes. I ain’t got no shoes’. And I told her you better find some by Monday and get down here. The Monday morning when Dilly got on the bus and walked the street no one could believe that Dilly would have transformed herself. I believe that everyone deserves a second chance. It was my desire to put her up, not to pull her down,” he said.
Lashley also referred to Sutton as a woman who had a good heart and was always willing to share and help the elderly, disabled, and sick, regardless of their age. He said not only did she make it her duty to inform him of the sick, deceased, and date and time of funerals, but she often took young people who needed assistance and often asked him to speak to the youth about keeping out of trouble.
“She would tell me who needed hampers, who needed a home, and whose house needed repairs. She did this because she cared for people. It was amazing because even people outside of St Philip she would try to help and she would ask me to assist. She was the champion of the poor, disadvantaged, disabled, young and old. She was not selfish, she was selfless,” Lashley said.
The former Member of Parliament also indicated that Sutton was a matter of fact person who would speak her mind if she had to using the roughest language, but in a matter of minutes would be the sweetest person to whoever had felt her sharp tongue.
He said a party was not one if Sutton was not there and noted that she ensured her presence was felt whenever she attended karaoke sessions, a dub, Q in the Community, or St Philip Carnival. She took pride in her house and surroundings and was happy when she received the keys to her own home.
“I know it is tough Martina, Kema and Chucky but I would assure you the same help I gave to your mum I will give to you. I owe it to you. I can say without a doubt that she was genuine from her heart to me. I cannot believe that a strong lady with a powerful voice is now voiceless. I cannot believe that a woman with so much power is now powerless.
“We must take the positive from Dilly’s life – the kind-hearted nature, the love she displayed, the sharing and caring side of her character and use these as yardsticks to better our lives. Let us become the father and mother of Dilly’s three remaining children and pick them up and keep them in the palm of our hands and in our hearts and care for them for Dilly’s sake,” Lashley said.
Pastor David Durant of Restoration Ministries who officiated the service said it would be difficult to find stronger words of comfort for the family than those found in Psalm 46 which he indicated are soothing and provide a sense of security, peace and stability in troubled times.
He told the grieving relatives that during their grief and pain, there are no quick remedies or answers, but those who care can offer them love and prayer.
At the same time, Pastor Durant said at this time when Barbadians are experiencing the challenges associated with the global COVID-19 pandemic, the last problem they want to be burdened with are continued acts of crime and violence.
The pastor appealed to the youth of the nation to step back and have respect for life. Durant commended the Royal Barbados Police Force for recording a high rate in solving homicides, but stressed that it is a must that all stakeholders, including the public and private sectors, assist in fighting the scourge of crime and violence.
“Our communities must not remain on lockdown to fear and violence and guns. We must be proactive in providing the help needed to people who are victims of serious physical harm and those who are at risk’ of being a future perpetrator or victim,” Durant said.
Gospel artiste Neesha Woods delivered a moving tribute of It Is Well With My Soul.
And after laying wreaths at the gravesite, the siblings and other close relatives released white doves. [email protected]