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Service brings closure


NATIONNEWS

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by MARIA BRADSHAW

mariabradshaw @nationnews. com

THERE WAS NO BODY, and no casket, but a handful of mourners quietly celebrated the life of Shane Brathwaite at a memorial service yesterday at The Church of the Holy Trinity in Sanford, St Philip.

Despite a newspaper notice from the deceased’s biological parents that they had not authorised the service and would take legal action, the hourlong service, which was arranged by Kelston Rollins, the man who raised Brathwaite, proceeded without a hitch.

Brathwaite was gunned down on February 27 in St Martin’s, St Philip. His burial had been hit with one controversy after the other but he was finally cremated last month by his parents.

Rollins, who built a casket for Shane but never got the opportunity to bury him in it, delivered an emotional eulogy in which he declared: “Shane was my son.”

He told the congregation he met Shane’s mother just before Shane was two years old.

“I was in a longterm relationship with his mother and I had the privilege to see Shane grow up and the privilege to educate him. He became a vital part of my life and when his mother went to the United States when he was age 11; she left him in my care.”

Rollins said he saw Shane through primary and secondary school and also the former Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic [now Institute of Technology].

“He use to refer to me as Rollins and then later in life we developed a bond; we were so close that he called me the old man,” said Rollins.

The father of two biological children said both his son and daughter embraced Shane as their brother.

“I think you would have seen a lot of problems that I encountered earlier. This service was to bring closure for my wife and my family,” he said before breaking down in tears.

Officiating minister, Canon DeVere Murrell, told the congregation: “It is my hope and prayer the members of his family and close circle would take the opportunity of this memorial service to find comfort and closure in the words of the hymns and songs taken from the holy scripture, and the fellowship of those who surround them at this time.”

After the service, Murrell told the DAILY NATION the church had not received any calls from Shane’s biological parents or an attorney yesterday.

“I believe that the church is not only here to service members of the church. The church has to look beyond what would appear at face value and try to comfort people and offer consolation. That is why we continued with the service despite the fact that we had threats.”

Commenting on the turnout, Rollins said he believed the notice had prevented people from attending, but he said: “I feel very comfortable. I am happy. His mother and father could do what they want to do now.”

A GRIEVING Dawn Rollins and her husband Kelston Rollins, the man who raised Shane Brathwaite, looking at the photograph of Shane which was placed at the entrance to the church.

(Pictures by Reco Moore.)

A TEDDY BEAR and a toy car adorned the table which contained a photograph of Shane Brathwaite and his sons.

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