Kala was one of the best, says principal
Tears flowed at Glendevon Primary and Junior High School in St James yesterday, as teachers and students struggled to come to grips with the fact that nine-year-old Kala Bailey, who was one of the sparkling gems in her grade three class, will no longer be around to warm their hearts with her loving presence.
Kala, who resided in the volatile Hendon-Norwood community, was reportedly shot dead by a 14-year-old boy from the same community, who found himself in possession of an illegal firearm. The incident occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. Friday.
"She was a sweet girl," said a tearful Suzan Binns, Kala's principal. "I had a very good bond with her. Once I arrive on the compound each day, she would come to my car, greet me with a big hug and offer to carry my bag to my office."
Like the principal, the teachers and students, some of whom cried openly, had only kind things to say about Kala, who, despite her tender age, had a major impact on the life of the school. In addition to being on the school's honour roll for her academic prowess, she was also a talented athlete, who won several medals for her school in the St James Primary School Athletics Championship.
"She would be the one leading the class devotion. She was a gifted student academically and she was a promising athlete, even from she was at the basic school level," said Binns. "She won many medals for this school. She was one of our best students."
... She was always pampering me - Dad
The wider Hendon-Norwood community in St James was in mourning as residents spoke fondly of little nine-year-old Kala Bailey, who was always happy and cheerful and viewed as a child with a bright future.
"Jah know, a nuh my child, but me feel it because she was such a pleasant child," said mechanic George Black, who got angry and agitated as he spoke. "If she was my pickney, I would not be standing here, I would be locked up somewhere."
Kala's father, Michael Bailey, was a broken man when he spoke to The Gleaner. With a pained look on his face, he described the fantastic relationship he had with the girl among the eight children he had fathered.
"Once I am around it is just me and she. She don't leave me one inch. She love me just like how me love her," said the grieving dad. "As soon as I sit down, she would come with the nail clip and cut my fingernails and toenails. She was always pampering me. Me just can't believe sey dis likkle bwoy just come kill mi daughter like that. I just can't get over that."
The 14-year-old boy, who reportedly fired the shot which snuffed out Kala's life, is now in police custody.