Richard Morais, Gleaner Writer
National Security Minister Peter Bunting is blaming lottery scamming for the death of British visitor eight-year-old Imani Green, who was shot dead by a gunman in a shop in Duncans, Trelawny, last Friday night.
"It is a dispute among persons in and around the community involved in the perennial lottery scam," Bunting told The Gleaner on Saturday.
According to the national security minister, lottery scamming has resulted in more than 100 deaths across the island. He, however, assured that young Imani's death was being investigated at the highest level in the police force.
In the meantime, the police say they are working off strong leads and that they would not rule out the motive of reprisal in relation to a shooting carried out by someone close to the proprietor of the shop on December 1.
Donna Green, Imani's mother, who is also a British citizen, was too distraught to speak with The Gleaner on Saturday afternoon when the newspaper visited her home.
Her other daughter, 19-year-old Jamila Palmer, said her mother had dedicated herself full-time to caring for Imani who suffered from sickle-cell anaemia.
Palmer, who is also vacationing on the island, said Imani's father, Richard Green, who lives in Balham, London, fainted upon hearing the news.
He has since been hospitalised.
The weeping grandmother, Sandra Fisher, was beyond herself when she spoke of her grandchild.
"She is such a pleasant child. She is the daughter of my son who migrated to England around seven years ago," she said.
Fisher added that because of Imani's illness, it was recommended that she spend time in the warmer climate. With her Jamaican connections, the family decided to visit every year, particularly during winter.
"I heard the shot fired and went to investigate because I knew she had gone in that direction. When I went to the shop, I saw her body on the ground," she said.
Reports are that Imani was shot by a lone gunman who fired a barrage of bullets into the shop operated by a relative. The youngster received a bullet wound to her head. Three other persons were shot in various parts of the body, but their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
The hooded gunman alighted from a car about 100 metres away, walked up to the shop, shot at the occupants, then walked back to the car and escaped. Bullet holes in various parts of the shop told the tale of the brutal attack.
British honorary consul to Jamaica, Peter Kellond, who visited the home, said the police have been doing a good job, but declined to make any further comment.