What you saw with Denbert is what you got.
This was the testimony of the Rev Canon Richard Jacob on Tuesday to mourners who came out in their numbers to bid farewell to 36-year-old Denbert Xavier Alfred at the St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Scarborough.
Having known Alfred personally, Jacob said: “If you had a problem with Denbert, that was of your own creation. Denbert would tell you what he had to tell you, and once he tell you, he done with that. He loved peace.”
In a lively funeral, filled with music and singing, mourners paid final tributes to the Lowlands businessman, who died on March 21 in an accident on the Claude Noel Highway in Lowlands. He was Tobago’s fourth road-fatality victim for 2023.
Police said Alfred, the father of two and owner of the FrontView Bar and Grill, was driving his blue Ford Ranger near the Lowlands junction when he lost control and slammed into a tree.
Jacob said: “If someone had come and said to me, 'Canon, boy, Denbert had covid19...' (But) two and a half years of lockdown with covid19, and that didn’t do anything – and then somebody’s carelessness on the road and we are here mourning...”
He said people are questioning God now, asking how he could allow Alfred to go in this way.
“Real people we lose over this two and a half years. How could God have purpose in that? The thing about that, if you consider how that unfolded for the majority of us...it would have taught us that some of the things that we thought were necessary are not so necessary, and we could do without it.”
Jacob said part of what he understood God did in covid19 was to try to help people to understand what is actually important in life, relationships and other things.
“The internal thing of being still and talking to him and connecting with people on a better, deeper level, rather than all the surface issues that we were doing before – that is part of what that was about.
"If we’re out of it now, why are we trying to go back to the things that we did before? And each of us would have to answer that question for ourselves.
"But I pray that we would pray about what life is really about and about the relationships that we have.”
For several minutes before the service, Alfred’s widow Eka Douglas-Alfred stood in front of her husband's coffin and cried.
Jacob said he couldn’t pretend his heart wasn’t heavy as he even asked God what would become of Douglas-Alfred and her two daughters..
“I understand, though, that based on what I have seen, that the village has already stepped in to help Eka, and I don’t think that the village would disappoint her at any point in time. So the very first thing that you all can do for them is pray that God would continue to give Eka the strength to do what is necessary for their girls.”
Alfred was buried at the Buccoo Public Cemetery.