UNDER a blazing sun, hundreds of people ignored the covid19 public health regulations and gathered en masse on the newly painted basketball court at John John in Laventille on Monday to bid farewell to reputed gang leader Anthon "Boombie" Boney.
The car salesman was gunned down last Wednesday along the Uriah Butler Highway near the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.
Four long rows of men in Islamic wear stood shoulder to shoulder to pray for Boney, with a row of women standing behind.
The men then broke ranks to shouts of "Allah u Akbar" (God is great).
Many men, including those without face masks, exchanged brotherly hugs with each other. The funeral passed uneventfully and was over quite quickly without any formal addresses equivalent to a eulogy.
A moderate but well-equipped number of police officers were dotted around the proceedings, watching and helping to direct the area's taxi drivers into and out of the very narrow streets, now packed with visiting traffic.
Boney's body was taken away in a white hearse which drove along the Beetham Highway to the Aranguez public cemetery.
A similar number of mourners attended his burial, many staying outside the cemetery. Many wore jerseys bearing tributes to Boney. Those near the grave, one by one, threw handfuls of dirt.
In a guarded atmosphere, mourners were in no mood to speak to the media. Newsday approached three women in Islamic wear who did not think we had much chance of talking to Boney's loved ones. Newsday approached a young man who was hurrying to the cemetery plus a young woman who said she had known Boney. Both declined to be interviewed.
New National Vision (NNV) party leader Fuad Abu Bakr told reporters at John John that the cycle of violence plaguing urban communities is tragic.
"The cycle of violence will continue unless the causes that are really responsible are corrected. A lot has been said in the media about the comments Iman Yasin Abu Bakr made (Fuad's father), but the social issues, the social degradation especially in the urban communities where African people reside, are of serious concern to all of us."
Bakr said he hoped the authorities would pay more attention to this.
"The plight of people who are in prison for very long periods without trial, the plight of communities that are impoverished – festering with a lack of opportunities, ignorance, continuing violence – some solution has to be found.
"Our Minister of National Security is actually the MP for one of these areas (yet) I have heard nothing about any social plan to try to quell these issues that are continual within these communities. We cannot continue to bury men and women who are killed at the hands of other men and at the hands of the police as well at times.
"If we want to reach anywhere as a nation we must address those issues. These are very, very serious issues," Bakr said.
Up to press time, Boney's killer/s remain at large.