Tivoli residents call on PM to 'have a heart'
Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer
From watching her son cut down by bullets to her own desperate struggle to survive a gunshot wound, Adina Darby's recollection of her ordeal during the 2010 Tivoli Gardens incursion by members of the security forces elicited tears and gasps of astonishment from her counterparts.
The emotional and physical scars were obvious for the 56-year-old grandmother as she spoke during a press conference held yesterday to push the Government to help bring closure for the families affected by the incident.
She showed journalists a long scar on her lower abdomen, remnants of the extensive medical treatment she underwent after being shot by a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
"Mi get a shot here so," Darby said pointing to her lower back.
"It come straight down to my womb and den go so," she said, as her hand traced from her lower back to her lower abdomen.
"The doctor dem tek out mi womb," she said to loud gasps by other residents.
STILL NO REPORT
The Office of the Public Defender, headed by attorney-at-law Earl Witter, has been investigating the many claims of atrocities committed by members of the security forces during the two-day incursion which left 73 civilians and one soldier dead, but to date, the report has not been completed.
This has led to widespread public criticisms and calls for Witter's resignation. However, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Michael Peart, has said he expects to have the report by the end of the month.
Darby recalled being inside her house with family members shortly after the security forces entered the west Kingston community in search of then fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
She said her ordeal started after her son went outside on a staircase and held up his cell phone "to get signal". The elderly woman said her son quickly ran back inside announcing he had been shot.
"Mi know say him love run joke so mi say, 'Move from ya so, man'. By the time mi say dat, mi see him jus roll down the staircase and lick him head and mi know say him dead," she said.
Darby said she immediately ran outside to seek help and remembers running past a 'gentleman', who she claimed was a policeman, 'in full blue (denim)'.
"By time mi run pass him, mi hear sup'n go 'bow'," she said, imitating the sound of gunfire.
The elderly woman said she realised she had been shot and recalled dragging her huge frame on the ground several yards in a desperate attempt to get assistance from neighbours.
"Mi start pray. Mi say, 'Father' nuh mek mi dead. Do, Father, do," she said, as other residents listening to her story wept openly.
Darby said she lay wounded for hours before a group of soldiers entered the community and confirmed that her son was dead before transporting her to the University Hospital of the West Indies.
She said she now has to find thousands of dollars for medication and has to wear diapers.
Lloyd D'Aguilar, convenor of the Tivoli Committee which represents residents like Darby, said it is cases like these Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller should seek to address.
According to D'Aguilar, the State has already admitted liability by compensating some 2,000 residents for damage to their properties.
However, he said the residents have complained that those payments are inadequate and that some did not receive any form of compensation.
"We are calling upon the prime minister to have a heart. If you are for poor people, have a heart and arrange for the speedy payments of outstanding claims," he asserted.
The group led a march to Jamaica House several weeks ago and delivered a petition to Simpson Miller, but said there has been no response.