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Sunday 21 July 2019
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‘Do not question God’

Kendel Hazel, left, and Amanda Vincent, parents of Isaiah Hazel were pall bearers at the funeral of their son at Mt. Moriah Spiritual Baptist Church, Yallery Street, Couva, on Wednesday. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH
Kendel Hazel, left, and Amanda Vincent, parents of Isaiah Hazel were pall bearers at the funeral of their son at Mt. Moriah Spiritual Baptist Church, Yallery Street, Couva, on Wednesday. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH

A religious leader pleaded with relatives and friends of three-year-old Isaiah Hazel, who died in a school bus, to rid themselves of anger towards his driver and forgive her saying, "accidents do happen."

Standing near the tiny blue-and-white coffin at the funeral at Mt Moriah Spiritual Baptist Church in California, Couva, Mother Marva Thomas warned that anger breeds hatred.

"I am begging, let go of the anger. She did not wilfully lock the child in the van. Accidents do happen. Do not question God. It could have happened to any other child, but it happened to Isaiah. I know it is hard, as a parent, and I know it is painful," Thomas preached to mourners.

Preschoolers found the boy unresponsive in the bus in California last Thursday afternoon. It is believed he fell asleep in the bus in the morning, and the driver thought all the children had been dropped off at their schools.

Friends of Isaiah Hazel mourn for him at his funeral at Mt Moriah Spiritual Baptist Church , Yallery Street, California, on Wednesday. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH

It was only when the driver, 31, from Perseverance, Couva, returned to collect the children that he was found. The driver fainted, had a panic attack and was hospitalised.

An autopsy later confirmed the child died of hyperthermia caused by extreme heat and dehydration.

Repeatedly, Thomas urged mourners not to hold any malice.

She said: "God knows what the future holds. My time, your time, time is in God’s hand. Revenge belongs to God. We are not in authority to judge the driver."

To anyone who thinks contrary to her view, Thomas said: "If you can’t give a piece of good advice, shut up!"

During the funeral, people consoled Isaiah’s bereaved parents, Kendal Hazel and Amanda Vincent, who sat about a foot from the coffin.

Eulogising the boy fondly called "Zay Zay," the only child of his parents, was his godmother Melissa Archibald, who referred to him as a cheerful and smart child who had "incredible energy."

Pall bearers carry the body of little Isaiah Hazel to the cemetery after the funeral at Mt Moriah Spiritual Baptist Church, Yallery Street, Couva, on Wednesday. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH

She said Isaiah loved his mother dearly and would always ask her if she was ok. An emotional Archibald said: "He loved to talk and ask questions about anything and everything. He was wise beyond his years."

She encouraged mourners to be comforted that he has gone to the creator.

"We cannot dwell on sadness and keep asking the question of why. We should focus on how happy he was in life."

A group of children, many wearing T-shirts bearing Isaiah’s face, paid tribute by singing the nursery rhyme Baby Shark.

Kendel Hazel left and Amanda Vincent parents of Isaiah Hazel walk to the cemetery after the funeral of their son at Mt Moriah Spiritual Baptist Church, Yallery Street, Couva, on Wednesday. PHOTO BY VASHTI SINGH

Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh told the packed congregation he too was deeply saddened by the tragedy. Over his years as MP, many constituents have died under different circumstances, but Isaiah was the youngest person who had "gone to the great beyond," he said.

Referring to Thomas's earlier comments, Indarsingh said: "We cannot judge, because as the mother indicated, accidents do happen."

He called on the authorities to ensure that all school drivers are certified and trained so that what happened to Isaiah is not repeated.

The Rev Anthony Thomas officiated at the funeral.

On Tuesday, the driver was released from the San Fernando General Hospital and up to press time was assisting police with the investigations.

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