“Do criminals in Trinidad and Tobago have more rights than law-abiding citizens?”
This was the question Pastor William Terrence who officiated Andrea Bharatt’s funeral service asked her family, friends and hundreds of mourners at the Faith Assembly Church in Arouca yesterday, as he called on the Government and Opposition to join hands in the fight against crime.
In an emotional send-off, Terrence asked the person who did this to Bharatt if they had Christ and love in their heart.
“Did Andrea deserve this?” he asked mourners who replied “No!”
When he heard about Bharatt’s kidnapping, Terrence said he could not stop crying and felt excessive pain and agony.
He advised legislators that such crimes cannot continue.
“We don’t want to see on the news another Andrea. MP for Arima we do not want it.”
He said the wheels of justice have been moving too slowly.
“I am informed in the papers some of the men held have 70 charges. What a country we are living in. You kill people you hurt people…an innocent child. You know the pain brother Bharatt feeling?”
“I plead to our Prime Minister Dr Rowley….our Opposition Leader we must enact laws to protect people like Andrea and every citizen in T&T. For our people in Government… those that are responsible to do their part, please, I beg you. We do not want another victim.”
Terrence’s call created a stir as mourners who clapped, whistled and shouted in support of his stance.
Delivering the eulogy, Amber Gibbs one of Bharatt’s classmates, described Bharatt as an intelligent human being, having attained many awards at her Bon Air High School.
“I remember at the end of every semester Andrea would hear her name being called to the stage over and over and over again to receive her awards in excellence from her teachers,” Gibbs recalled.
Gibbs said when Bharatt obtained her CXC results she was not pleased and decided to “rewrite a few subjects” at the North Eastern College.
From there, she said it was no stopping Bharatt who attended the University of the West Indies where she pursued a bachelors degree in science sociology and a minor in criminology.
“Andrea always wanted to be called Dr Bharatt. She then got a job at the Arima Magistrate’s Court as a clerk,” which Gibbs said she took seriously.
“Andrea had a short life but it was filled to the brim with love from everyone around her. She loved spending time with her dad painting, tinkering with machines, making creative projects and expressing her artistic talents,” a tearful Gibbs said.
One of Bharatt’s co-workers named Jasmine said, “Andrea had big dreams.”
Trying hard to contain her emotions, Jasmine said Bharatt was a light for all of us and her murder was a hard blow for the court workers.
She said Bharatt never complained, asked for anything and did not know the word “no”.
“She loved her job. She really did. I don’t know what I will do because my light is gone.”
Vocalist Neval Chatelal sang a touching rendition of Josh Groban’s “You raise me up” which brought Bharatt’s father Randolph and cousin Sally Sooman to tears.
Paying tribute, Persad-Bissessar said she did not know “Andrea personally” but the country knew they lost a beautiful soul.
“She was a daddy’s girl. To her teachers, she was a shining star. To her friends their biggest supporter and her family’s light.”
She said Bharatt’s graduation photograph showed how much she beamed with pride of her accomplishments.
“The lost of Andrea has resonated with me. I know what it is like to experience grief and loss.”
In these moments of despair, Persad-Bissessar told the Bharatt (Randolph) to wait on the lord and he shall strengthen thy heart.
The Opposition Leader said she could not remember the last time our nation has been so united for a cause.
“The loss of your young daughter Daddy Bharatt has ripped out nation sending shockwaves throughout our land that are desperate for answers. Andrea has touched the soul of our nation. She has awakened the consciousness for generations to come.”
She said Bharatt is calling out for us to be each other’s keeper and to hold hands to heal a broken nation.
As Bharatt’s body exited the church, throngs of curious on-looker lined the streets and outside the church in the pouring rain to say goodbye to their “angel”.