Shineka Gray laid to rest
Tears flowed freely as relatives, friends and well-wishers congregated inside and outside the Kings Seventh-day Adventist Church in Mount Salem, St James, on Sunday, to say their final farewells to 15-year-old Green Pond High School student Shineka Gray, one month after her murder.
Gray, who resided in Mount Salem and was a grade-10 student at Green Pond High School, was found dead on February 1 with multiple stab wounds, three days after she was reported missing. She had last been seen in Montego Bay, leaving the funeral of a former schoolmate.
During her funeral yesterday, tributes in speech and song were provided by Gray's classmates from Green Pond High and from the Fustic Road-based Refuge Temple Apostolic Faith congregation, where she was a member. Other tributes came from family members, friends and neighbours, members of the church community, and political representatives.
While presenting the eulogy, Refuge Temple Apostolic Faith Sunday-school teacher Mark Hamilton remembered Gray as a loving individual, and at the same time lamented the nature of her passing.
"Shineka came into the world without a hitch. She had a keen sense of people ... she was a bubbling pot of love," said Hamilton. "February 1 was a dark day, as all of our fears came to reality. It is still an unbelievable act, but one that we have to accept. Regardless of the situation, God is still in control."
In the meantime, Michael Ellis, principal of Green Pond High, made a call after the service for parents to be more active in how they raise their children, to prevent a recurrence of incidents such as Gray's murder.
"I feel we have done an injustice to our children, and we need to start parenting them in a better way. I feel that we are too permissive in many ways; I honestly don't feel we have taken this thing called parenting as seriously as we ought to," said Ellis.
"What we need is a renaissance of what I call traditional values and attitudes. I strongly believe that we ought to be more intentional about how we raise our children, and I am a strong advocate for what I call primitive godliness. We cannot raise our children without God in their lives; otherwise, this is going to happen again."