Fri | Dec 6, 2019

Gov't to cover funeral expenses of 7-y-o Clan Carthy Primary student

Published:Sunday | November 17, 2019 | 11:09 AM
Japhene Campbell holds a picture of her deceased 7-year-old son Benjamin Bair while her 8-year-old Seraphine Bair tries to comfort her at the Apostolic Church of God of Seventh Temple of Praise in Spanish Town, St Catherine yesterday.

The education ministry has said it will cover the full cost of funeral expenses for the seven-year-old Clan Carthy Primary School student who was killed by a garbage truck three weeks ago.

In a statement to the media this morning, the education ministry said the mother of Benjamin Bair was asked for the invoices from the funeral directors to facilitate payment.

"In keeping with the commitment made by the Minister with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Karl Samuda following the death of Benjamin Bair in an accident at the Clan Carthy Primary School in Kingston on October 29, the ministry will cover the full costs associated with his funeral," the statement read.

"An MoEYI officer who spoke with Benjamin’s mother, Ms Japhine Campbell last Friday arranged to meet with her and representatives of the Clan Carthy School on Monday, November 18 to discuss her plans and guide her through acquiring and submitting bills/invoices related to the burial," the statement continued.

The statement from the education ministry follows comments from Bair's mother yesterday that the government would not be covering the full funeral expenses her deceased child.

She learned on Friday that the ministry would cover the cost for the coffin, hearse and storage of the body.

However, she said there were other costs her family would have to bear, such as transportation of mourners, and the ninth-night event.

"This is unfair... What I need is for them to give me my son back. None of them can pay me back for my son," Campbell told the congregation of the Apostolic Church of God of Seventh Temple of Praise in Spanish Town, St Catherine where she attended service yesterday.

"My son died a horrible death and he deserves a send-off that is decent and proper, the same way I raised him like a little young man. This is unfair," she continued in tears.

However, the education ministry said following the submission of the invoices by Campbell,  "as is standard procedure, a Critical Incident File is submitted and processed and then sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers for processing and determination for payment".