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Wednesday 15 August 2018
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Family considers THA offer for funeral expenses, counselling

Zakiah Lorde…died after a tree branch fell on her. PHOTO BY Sita Bridgemohan

Senior Superintendent Joanne Archie said on Monday police were investigating the death of five-year-old Zakiah Lorde, who was reportedly hit by a tree branch and fell into a coma.

Lorde, a Black Rock Government Primary School infant class student who was hit on the head by the falling tree branch last Wednesday, died on Saturday at the Scarborough General Hospital, two days short of her sixth birthday.

On the day of the incident, reports are that three workmen were trimming a tree at the front of Lorde’s house at Hopeton Road, Black Rock, when a branch fell on her as she was leaving for school just after 8 am.

On Monday, Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles said the Tobago House Assembly (THA) has offered to pay funeral expenses for Lorde, and for counselling for family members. He said the family has asked for time to consider the offer.

Charles, speaking with reporters at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Gold Resort in Lowlands where he was attending the Financial Intelligence Unit’ Annual Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Conference, said he had visited the family while the child was hospitalised, and again on Sunday after her death.

He expressed his sorrow at Lorde’s death.

“It is regrettable that the incident did occur and in fact, I am saddened with the loss of this child, who my information is, was a very promising student and even at the level of the infant class, she was displaying tremendous leadership potential. It is a feeling of great tragedy that we would have loss someone as young as she was and with such potential,’ he said.

Asked about a safety policy at the THA Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment, where the workmen cutting the tree were employed, Charles said he was awaiting a report.

“The Division… has taken what I consider the appropriate action, that is to review urgently the health and safety aspects of its various activities including activities to be undertaken outside of its offices. When that report is completed, I shall seek to ensure that the Division resolutely implements those policies because generally speaking, as a people we do not adhere to the strict elements or requirements of safety. There is a requirement at the societal level to increase the awareness of safety issues,” he said. Meanwhile, in the Senate on Monday, Tobago East MP Ayanna Webster-Roy extended condolences to Lorde’s family, friends and loved ones.


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