Shot but still hopeful
Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer
Buff Bay, Portland:Hopping around on one leg, for approximately 30 years, following a shooting incident for a crime he did not commit is no easy task. However, for Desmond Jones, things have been easier since acquiring a prosthetic leg.
Jones, who is 51, remembers the shooting as if it were yesterday, as memories of the incident continues to flood his mind, especially with his claim of innocence.
He was reportedly shot by the police at his gate, in 1983, while living in Highgate, St Mary.
"I was only 19 years old at the time," recounted Jones.
"I was working at Gray's Inn Estate in St Mary, on a farm, where I assisted with the reaping of various crops. I was at home one evening, when I was approached by the police, who indicated that they wanted to speak to me. I was sitting down at the time, so I got up and walked towards them. As they approached me, one of the police officers entered my house and started searching, while the other was with me asking a lot of questions. From what he was saying, I was being accused of receiving stolen goods. I explained that I knew nothing about what I was being accused of, but the police slapped at my face and his hand hit the door post."
According to Jones, the police became angry after his hand hit the door post, and slapped at him a second time, but he (Jones) bit the policeman's hand, who hollered out to his colleague for help.
But what took place shortly after would change Jones's life, as he was shot in the right leg, which, had to be amputated.
The loss of a leg resulted in more than 30 years of hardship for the former plantation worker who was forced to resort to begging meals.
As the years unfolded, Jones would start a family, comprising five children and a common law wife, who were heavily dependent on him. With the demand of family life, Jones opened a stall at his gate in Buff Bay, Portland, where he had relocated 15 years later. He sold plums, pear (avocado), banana, and yam, reaped from his meagre farm.
Jones later switched occupation and took up fishing. His catches proved to be productive, as he was able to sell a large portion of his fish to community residents, which allowed him to pay bills, put food on the table and send his children to school.
When Rural Xpress caught up with the fisherman earlier this week in Buff Bay, he was seen with more than 20 pounds of black snappers, a fish considered by many to be very tasty, while sporting his brand new prosthetic leg, which his sister purchased for him more than a week ago.
"I am now able to walk around with a lot more ease. I am doing relatively well in my new occupation. There are days when I able to catch more than 25 pounds of fish. I have never committed a crime and, even today, I just cannot understand the reason behind someone reporting to the police that I was in possession of stolen goods. Two of my children are still in school, Portland High and Annotto Bay High, respectively, and I have to ensure that they get a well-rounded education."