Wed | Dec 7, 2016

'It's not about the money'

Published:Friday | December 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Nicola Bryce-Wilson testifies before the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston yesterday. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Tivoli resident says testimony motivated by wish to not see repeat of deadly incursion

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

A Tivoli Gardens resident who claimed she took a bullet to her left breast and was made to wait two days before getting medical attention has insisted that her testimony to the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry was not motivated by money.

Instead, Nicola Bryce-Wilson said her motivation was that she does not want any other community in Jamaica to experience another police-military operation like the one conducted in her west Kingston community in May 2010.

"Is not about money. I did not lose my life, and I give God thanks. The reason why I am here [is] for this not to happen again," Bryce-Wilson told the commission during yesterday's hearings at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

"Not just Tivoli Gardens, but all of Jamaica," she said during cross-examination by Valerie Neita-Robertson, one of the attorneys for the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

The lifelong Tivoli Gardens resident also testified that, through her son, she learnt the identity of the soldier who allegedly shot her and revealed that they later became friends.

Recounting her first encounter with the soldier, Bryce-Wilson told the commission that she confronted him in the Darling Street area of west Kingston several weeks later and "told him that him shoot up the house with me inside."

According to her, the soldier denied shooting her and enquired how she knew it was him. She said it was at this point that her young son joined the conversation and told the soldier he was inside the house and saw the shooting from a window.

SOLDIER APOLOGISED

"Him turn to me and him say to me, 'Mommy, I'm sorry, and me glad you nuh dead'," Bryce-Wilson recalled, noting that she has since seen the soldier several times in her west Kingston community.

"Him see me and call to me [and] we talk … . We talk good," she revealed.

Relating her ordeal, Bryce-Wilson said she was inside her third-floor apartment, located on Dreckett Place, on May 24, 2010 when she was shot.

"I was holding my breast in my left hand, and after that, I ran downstairs crying for help," she said, noting that she encountered "a whole heap a soldiers".

She continued: "One a di soldiers say, 'Hey gal, a kill we a go kill you now', and I cried and say, 'Mi a Christian! Mi a Christian!'."

Bryce-Wilson testified that by then, she had discovered that she also had a bullet wound in her left leg and was crying and begging the soldiers to allow her to get medical attention, but claimed her pleas were ignored.

"Dem have me sleeping on the floor inna the blood-up clothes," she said.

Bryce-Wilson conceded, during cross-examination, that the soldiers informed her that because of the "crossfire" outside, it would be too risky to take her to hospital.

She recounted how another soldier used peroxide to treat her wounds, and two days later, she was transported to the University Hospital of the West Indies.

She said she was referred to the Jamaica Cancer Society where X-rays showed the bullet lodged in her left breast.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com