Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Shooters Hill in sorrow as teen's body is found; community counting losses

Published:Saturday | October 24, 2020 | 1:32 PM
A tearful Beverly Binns, mother of Romeo Leachman and grandmother of Saneeka Leachman, speaking to The Gleaner this morning. Both Leachman and his daughter, Saneeka, perished in Friday morning's landslide in Shooters Hill, St Andrew. Saneeka's body was discovered late this morning, following search and rescue efforts by residents and emergency workers.

Shooters Hill in east rural St Andrew is in sorrow, following the discovery, late this morning, of teenager, Saneeka Leachman's body, who had been missing since yesterday when a landslide destroyed her home. 

Her father, 42 year-old Romeo Leachman, also perished in the inundation. His body was found yesterday. 

"Everything turn up-side down right now," bemoaned Beverly Binns, Leachman's 65 year-old mother, before undertakers removed the body of her granddaughter. 

"God a hold me, but me have to be strong for the others. Only me alone now with them," she said. 

Leachman was her only son and Saneeka, was his only daughter. 

Binns hadn't spoken to her son in more than a month, but she recounted her last conversation with her granddaughter on Thursday, the eve of the tragedy.

"Me tell her to tell her father say him must call me and me don't hear from him. And that was the last conversation me and her have," Binns recalled.  

During their conversation, Binns said her granddaughter also revealed that she was planning to surprise her father for her birthday. 

"The 7th of next month, he would 43, so she say she going to carry him for dinner or for something- where the money can carry her," she said.

"She a 15, she go Queens (The Queen's School in St Andrew) . So she say anywhere her little savings can carry her father, because him there for her from she four year-old, so a full time she treat him now so him can get one day relaxation," Binns recounted. 

But even as she grieved, she expressed gratitude to the residents and emergency workers who helped her to find the body of her granddaughter. 

"That's all me did want right now. Just bring a closure to that part of it and then me can tackle all further on," she said. 

Oshane Gowie and Jahmiel Harrison, who helped with digging through mud from as early as 5 o'clock this morning to find the teenager, also expressed their sorrow for the loss of their neighbours. 

"Everybody feel it, because we know both," said Gowie. 

Counting losses

And as the community grieves the loss of a father and his daughter, others, affected by the landslide are trying to piece their lives together, as the community and other areas in east rural St Andrew remain largely marooned. 

"My husband, all of us, have to be listening if anything more coming down on us," said Icilda Nembhard, whose house was also damaged by the landslide that killed Leachman and his daughter. 

"The whole place is devastated. As you can see is pure mud and debris. If you have a little dry spot is still full of debris and mud and water, so you have to walk in the mud and the water to the part that is dry, so there is no comfortable place in the house for us to stay and sleep," she spoke to our Gleaner team. 

"I hear every cracking, every breeze that blow right through the night. I cannot sleep, because I am afraid of the things them on the hill come down and cave in on us in here. We don't want it to happen. Two lives lost, we can't afford anymore right now," she bemoaned.  

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us @onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.