Mark Wignall | ‘My daughter is captured by a gunman’
“The last time I saw her she had a big swelling on a part of her face. She say to mi, ‘Mommy, mi nuh like miself. Save mi. Get mi wey from him’.”
I have been speaking with 53-year-old Cynthia (not her real name) for about two months. She has seven boys and two girls and there is no father figure to help her, so she works two jobs. Cynthia is a big part of the hidden but real picture of Jamaica.
“Is out of pure stress mi find mi self jus bawling every day.” According to Cynthia, about a year ago one of her daughter’s friends at school got pregnant at 14 and she was thrown out by her mother. “I took di likkle girl in, but I really never know di true story.”
Taking in the little girl in the cramped inner-city community in Clarendon did not help. “To tell you di truth, di likkle girl she just nuh care, and is pure man and boy always in mi house from dat. Unknown to me, one a di boy dem did have him eye on my 16-year-old daughter.”
Cynthia eventually was forced to get the girl and her pregnancy and her many male friends out of her house. But, there was a downside: “One day dis boy show up at mi door an ask fi mi daughter.”
Cynthia said as she looked at him she saw bad things happening should she allow her daughter to see this man.
She came home one evening about seven months ago and her daughter was not there. She phoned her and every time the conversation went beyond three minutes, she heard a male voice in the background loudly telling the girl to hang up.
“A call mi daughter till a get sick, then one day a friend tell mi that she si a man holding mi daughter by her neck and dragging her on the road.
“A link wid her and she tell mi sey she want come home, but she fraid. She tell mi sey she try fi run wey, but him tek him gun and lick har cross her face.”
Cynthia has been to the police multiple times and one policeman at a station has called her a ‘mischief maker’. According to the general police position, her daughter is free to leave the man, and if she has not done done so, nothing is wrong.
Cynthia says she is tired to talk to the CDA.
“Mi daughter want to become a doctor and shi bright, and when a tell him dat she want to go back to school and come stay wid her family him sey, ‘No family, no school’.”
Every call to her daughter’s phone, it is the man’s voice gruffly ordering her not to call back. “Mi son dem fraid a him because dem know him a gunman and dem sey is nuff likkle girl him have inna him stable.”
I have told Cynthia that she should make an official report of kidnapping to the police. “You tell me she doesn’t want to stay but she is afraid. You tell me when she escapes and comes back home, he comes for her and takes her away. As far as I am concerned she has been kidnapped,” I said.
The crazy thing is, as much as Cynthia feels she is losing her mind in powerlessly seeing her daughter going to waste and ruination, she is not alone, and the security apparatus in this country is basically uncaring and not that concerned at the prospect of another poor girl getting captured by the long-prevailing social breakdown and gun rule.