testy exchange at commission of enquiry
A 49-year-old woman yesterday recounted how it took her an entire day to get medical attention after a bullet tore through her upper left arm while she stood inside her home during the 2010 police-military operations in her west Kingston community.
Collette Robinson told the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry being held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston that at one point she tried to make her way to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) but was sent back by a member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) who told her to "go back home go dead".
Robinson said the shooting occurred some time around 7 o'clock on the morning of May 25, 2010, and that the police took her to the Marcus Garvey Drive area of St Andrew before finally transporting her to KPH some 12 hours later where she remained for two weeks.
The long-time Tivoli Gardens resident repeatedly testified that she did not know who shot her, which triggered some testy exchanges with one of the attorneys for the JDF after she was confronted with two witness statements she purportedly gave the Office of the Public Defender.
Seeking to challenge the accuracy of Robinson's account, the JDF attorney Peter Champagnie pointed to one of the statements in which the witness asserted that she was shot around 7 o'clock on the evening of May 25.
"Would it be true to say that what you said in that statement was the truth?" the attorney asked.
"It was the truth, no lies. The truth," Robinson insisted.
"So anybody who say is in the evening that you got shot that person would be a liar, isn't that so?" Champagnie pressed.
"That person woulda be a liad 'cause a 7 a'clock a got the shot," the witness responded before making it clear that she understood the difference between a.m. and p.m.
Mistake with statement
Later, Robinson protested that someone made a mistake with her statement and inserted p.m. instead of a.m., but acknowledged that the statement was read over to her before she affixed her signature.
Champagnie then directed Robinson to a section of her evidence when she
testified that while on her way to hospital to get treatment for her wound, she told a soldier that she was shot by another
member of the JDF.
"When you said that were you speaking the truth then?" the attorney questioned.
"Yes," the woman replied.
"So when you say to this commission of enquiry today [yesterday] that you don't know who shot you are you speaking the truth?" the JDF attorney pressed.
"A mistake a mek," the Tivoli Gardens resident responded.
"So you really don't see who shot you, right?" Champagnie continued.
"Yes, I don't see who shot me," she conceded.
However, in recounting her ordeal, Robinson testified that she was at home with her family on May 24, 2010, when "bare shot start licking and bomb dropping."
According to Robinson, this lasted for several hours before a bullet pierced her arm the following day as she stood inside her apartment talking to her neighbour.
"It tear out the whole a under me arm. There was a big hole ... big, big you could put you fist in there," she said, noting that a relative had to use a towel to tie the wound to stop the bleeding.
Robinson said at the time, she worked as a coffee picker with the Coffee Industry Board, but has not been able to return to her job since the injury.