PALMERS CROSS, Clarendon – It was hard to look at nine-year-old Taliyah Thompson’s baby blue casket adorned with a floral arrangement with matching streamers whose curls evoked memories of the little girl’s hair.
Her casket, adorned with a blue floral arrangement that spelled out her name, was the centre of attention for those who gathered at the Palmers Cross Seventh-day Adventist Church in Clarendon to celebrate her brief life on Sunday.
Students and staff of Discovery Bay All-Age School, where Taliyah was a grade four student, were among the scores of people who turned out for the service.
Little Taliyah was raped and stabbed to death in her community of Fortland Road, in Discovery Bay, St Ann, on September 23. A male relative was taken into police custody in connection with the incident which sent shockwaves throughout Jamaica.
During Sunday’s service, Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams continued to speak out against the barbaric slaying of the nation’s children. She insisted that her murder was not normal and citizens should not accept it as such.
“What is it that is in the heart of man that makes him carry out such acts of cruelty? With Taliyah’s death Jamaica has lost a young girl of much potential,” the minister bemoaned.
She expressed optimism that the perpetrator would be brought to justice by detectives probing the case.
During the service, representatives from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) urged residents to do what they can to protect the nation’s children.
CPFSA parish manager for St Ann, Andrew Blake suggested the formation of a neighbourhood watch to help deter criminals.
“Ensure that we do our best to protect all children that we see, we cannot allow this monster of crime to take root…we have to stand strong, we have to stay strong. The CPFSA encourages all Jamaicans to call 211 if you suspect or know of any situation where a child is being abused,” he said.
Blake also urged individuals to take a community approach to raising children and to develop a good relationship with the police.
Following the service, young Taliyah was laid to rest in the family plot in Clarendon.