Mon | Aug 20, 2018

Rosie tells her story

Published:Tuesday | December 9, 2014 | 12:01 AMLivern Barrett
Rudolph Brown/Photographer Adina Derby
Adina Derby
Adina Derby

An elderly Tivoli Gardens woman yesterday recounted how she took a bullet to the back as she, along with other family members, rushed her wounded son to hospital on a handcart during the 2010 police-military operations in her west Kingston community.

Seventy-two-year-old Adina Derby insisted during her testimony to the west Kingston commission of enquiry, being held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, that she was shot by a policeman moments after she ran past him in chase of the handcart transporting her son to Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) with what she described as a gunshot wound to the chest.

"When me run past him, me hear sup'n go so 'blow' and me drop," Derby recounted of the May 24, 2010 shooting.

"Me feel like is a balloon blow up inna me. Me get up and me run off and me drop ... . A three times me get up and drop," said the woman affectionately called 'Rosie' about the injury that would change her life for good.

The lifelong Tivoli Gardens resident also blasted the security forces for the way the operation was conducted, charging that "dem come wid blood inna dem eye fi kill off everybody."

"We are human beings ... [If] you come fi somebody [Christopher Coke], you come the right and proper way," she underscored.

Derby testified that amid the fierce gun battle still raging in the west Kingston community, she had to abandon her son and seek refuge in a nearby yard.

"Me did haffi run fi my rescue. Me couldn't mek him dead and me dead ... . Probably if me neva lef him, me woulda dead too and the other rest a people [pushing her son on the cart] would a dead to," she surmised.

'Rosie' testified that her son - who was shot when he went to the second floor of the family's two-storey home to get phone signal - later succumbed to his injury.

She admitted, during cross-examination by Deborah Martin, one of the attorneys for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), that she did not know if soldiers, police or gunmen shot her son.

She also disputed claims that, in her statement to the public defender's office in 2010, she did not indicate that a member of the JCF shot her.

"From me get shot, me tell dem say a police shoot me," she insisted.

Derby said hours after she was shot, a group of soldiers transported her to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), and praised them for the treatment she received.

Derby revealed that she spent nearly a month at the UHWI and pointed to the physical and emotional scars that still linger more than four years later.

"I don't even like talking about this, because I don't like to remember it," she muttered in-between her testimony, noting that she still walks with a limp.

In addition, 'Rosie' said she has not been able resume her thriving business of selling produce at the Coronation Market, which earned her as much as $12,000 in a good week.

Derby was one of four witnesses who gave evidence yesterday, mainly about the damage to their home and other personal properties.

The hearing continues today.