Richard Morais, Gleaner Writer
National Security Minister Peter Bunting is blaming the pervasive lottery scam for the killing of the eight-year-old United Kingdom visitor who was shot dead by a gunman in a shop in Duncans, Trelawny, last Friday night.
Minister Bunting, who was speaking with The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre yesterday night in Manchester, blamed the shooting incident in which the young visitor, Imani Green, was killed and three others injured on “a dispute among persons in and around the community involved in the perennial lottery scam”.
According to the security minister, the lottery scam is responsible for more than a 100 deaths across the island. He, however, assured that young Imani's death was being investigated at the highest level.
In the meantime, the police have not yet caught anyone responsible for the shooting, but say they are working off strong leads. The police have not ruled out reprisal for a similar incident on December 1 as a motive for Friday night's incident.
Donna Green, Imani's mother, who is also a British citizen, was too distraught to speak yesterday afternoon when the The Gleaner visited her home.
But her other daughter, 19-year-old Jamila Palmer, said her mom had dedicated herself fully to caring for Imani, who was a sicklier. Palmer, who is also vacationing on the island, said Imani's father, Richard Green, who lives in Balham, London, fainted after hearing the news.
He has since been hospitalised.
Her grandmother, Sandra Fisher, who wept openly, was beyond herself when she spoke.
“She is such a pleasant child; she is the daughter of my son who migrated to England around seven years ago,” Ms Fisher said. She added that because of Imani's illness, it was recommended that she spend time in the warmer climes. 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 lifeless body on the ground,” she said as she recalled the horror.
Reports are that Imani was shot by a lone gunman who fired a barrage of bullets in the shop, operated by a relative. The young girl was reportedly shot in the head. Three other persons were shot in various parts of the body but their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
It is understood that the 'hooded gunman' alighted from a car about 100 metres away, walked up to the shop, shot 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 and are doing a good job, but declined to make any further comment.