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Trinidad and Tobago

Pastor at teen’s funeral calls for return of death penalty

memebrs of the TT Cadet Force carry out the body of Tyrek Richardson at K Allen and Sons Funeral Chapel, Arima. Photo: Ayanna Kinsale
memebrs of the TT Cadet Force carry out the body of Tyrek Richardson at K Allen and Sons Funeral Chapel, Arima. Photo: Ayanna Kinsale

The death of 15-year-old Tyrek Richardson could have been avoided if capital punishment were still in place, according to a pastor who officiated at the teen's funeral at Allen's Funeral Home, Arima.

During his homily, Pastor Laurence Backburn of the Bethel Spiritual Baptist Church said he believed the return of the death penalty would reduce crime and while Tyrek's death was saddening, he believed the teen's killer will one day have to answer for his crime to a higher power.

"When you take a man's life, you have to answer to God for whatever sins that man committed. The penalty for kidnapping should be death, for murder the penalty should be death. We need these laws to come back in the country, so that we can have a better Trinidad.

"The Bible says that if you take a man's life the penalty for that should be death. Things in this country will not get better until we bring back the death penalty."

One of Tyrek's commanding officers in the TT Cadet Force spoke at the funeral, recalling her time with him. She remembered him as a model cadet and a well-adjusted young man.

"He was a very quiet, happy, joyful cadet. I used to tell him laugh and cry used to live in the same house. On that Wednesday night when his mother sent that message to me that he was dead, I only saw it after three in the morning when I got up. I began making calls and it was a sad day for all of us."

She said despite social media posts claiming he was involved in a fight which led to his death, Tyrek was a helpful, respectful young man.

The hall of the funeral home was filled to capacity as members of Tyrek's cadet batch, along with his peers from the Brazil Secondary School, took up the front rows to say goodbye and pay their final respects to him.

Newsday tried to speak to Tyrek's father Selwyn Richardson, but he said the family was too emotional to speak.

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