Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Witness puts KPH in spotlight

Published:Wednesday | December 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Kishonna Gordon giving her testimony at the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry at the Jamaica Conference Centre yesteray. - Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

The treatment meted out to a then 13-year-old girl when she turned up at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) with two bullet wounds during the 2010 police-military incursion into her west Kingston community has landed health-care personnel who were on duty at the time on the radar of the commission of enquiry.

A medical report cited by chairman of the commission, Sir David Simmons, showed that Kishonna Gordon - the second witness to testify before the enquiry - had two bullet wounds to her leg when she visited KPH in May 2010 but was still discharged.

According to Simmons, the report showed that Gordon, who is now 18 years old, returned to KPH the following day with "worsening pain and swelling to the right thigh and low-grade fever", and it was only then that she was "admitted to surgery".

"Somebody from the hospital will have to come and explain why this child was treated like that," the former chief justice of Barbados underscored.

Michael Lorne, the attorney representing the Office of the Public Defender, quickly interjected, "When you poor in Jamaica, you know, sir, this is common."

"It seems very, very unsatisfactory to me, but that's only an observation," Simmons sought to clarify.

ALLEGEDLY SHOT BY SOLDIER

In outlining her ordeal, Gordon recounted that she was shot by a member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) as she made her way home from KPH, where she had taken her stepfather after watching him take a bullet allegedly fired by other soldiers; however, during cross-examination by Linton Gordon, one of the attorneys for the JDF, she conceded that she never actually witnessed her stepfather being shot.

During a sometimes testy exchange with the JDF attorney, the teen insisted that she came out of the family's McKenzie Drive home just in time to see him falling to the ground "and I tried to catch him".

Gordon said upon realising that she had been shot, she returned to the hospital immediately but was not treated.

"When mi go in, dem say, 'You again? You no just leave?'. Then dem just put the cotton and then the tape and den tell mi say mi can gwaan," she recalled.

Gordon said a nurse informed her that it was not compulsory for the bullet to be removed and that she could return home.

The teen testified that she pretended to leave before going to another section of the hospital.

"Mi jus do like mi come out and whoppi back (returned) and go 'round a di next part an lie dung in deh so [and say] mi a go dead in deh so," she recalled.

"You see the next day, mi foot [look] like it a get rotten pan me … . It dead. A di good grace of Fada God mek mi still deh yah," said an agitated Gordon.

She later testified that a soldier visited her in the hospital and admitted that he was the person who had shot her, but explained that "him neva did a try kill me, him just did waan slow me up 'cause him think mi was a man."

The teen, who said she has lived in Tivoli Gardens all her life, also testified that she did not know Christopher 'Dudus' Coke and that except for members of the security forces, she had never seen anyone in the west Kingston community with firearms.

Responding to questions from Deborah Martin, the attorney for the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Gordon conceded that there were numerous barricades erected inside Tivoli Gardens.

The hearings will continue today with another Tivoli Gardens resident, Troy Palmer, taking the witness stand.