Nearly nine years after patriarch was killed in controversial shooting
Nagra Plunkett, Assignment Coordinator
WESTERN BUREAU:Two things in life are certain, says the old adage: death and taxes. Each can be equally harsh.
For 43-year-old Yvonne Bacchas of Flankers in Montego Bay, St James, her experience with death has taught her coping mechanisms, which have helped to mould her into a stronger person.
Yvonne is one of three children of David Bacchas who was killed in a controversial police shooting in Flankers on October 25, 2003.
Mr Bacchas, a 63-year-old taxi operator at the time, was shot along with his passenger Cecil Brown, 66, on that fateful Saturday morning.
"Wow! It still brings back memories, but I am trying to be strong," Yvonne told The Sunday Gleaner.
"For me, it is a lingering picture but I just have to keep strong."
Yvonne has been a rock to her mother, Geneva Bacchas and her two brothers over the almost nine years.
"It was when my father died that I realised the kind of respect, the community had for him. The incident brought me closer to my community members," she added. "I didn't know that people would have given all that love and support to my family."
Initial police reports stated that the elderly men were killed in a shoot-out with them and that two handguns were recovered from Mr Bacchas' car.
But irate Flankers residents disputed this claim and insisted that their neighbours were killed in "cold blood".
They protested by blocking the major roadway leading into Montego Bay, lighting fires and hurling missiles at police personnel who attempted to clear the blocked road.
The police hierarchy later altered its version of the shooting, and instead reported that Bacchas and Brown were shot in a crossfire with armed men during a police operation in the inner-city community.
Four cops, including a female officer, were subsequently charged for the killings. They were eventually freed by a court in 2006.
The Government compensated the Bacchas family to the tune of approximately $4.5 million after they filed a suit claiming wrongful death .
"We got some compensation and as I said before it was inadequate because it cannot bring back my father," Yvonne shared as she stared at the ground.
"We just have to accept it and leave the rest to Father God. It was his (her father's) birthday on Monday; he would have been 72 year old ... I quarrel to myself all day."
One of the policemen reportedly involved in the shooting was later killed in a confusing incident in Montego Bay.
The policeman, Metro McFarlane - who was on suspension from the Island Special Constabulary Force — was reportedly fatally shot by a colleague along the William Street area in downtown Montego Bay on January 16, 2010.
It is reported that McFarlane was clutching his licensed firearm and chasing a pickpocket, who had robbed a woman on the nearby Harbour Street, when he was accosted by a policeman. In the end, several shots were fired and McFarlane was dead.
But the matriarch of the Bacchas family, Geneva, takes no comfort in the policeman's demise.
"I am not happy at how he died. He too has a family and they must be feeling like how I am feeling," said Geneva.
"It is my spirituality that has kept me going since my husband was killed. If it wasn't for God, knowing him and being a Christian, I don't know how I would get through these years. It is still fresh in my mind."