Thursday 2 July, 2020

PM vows 'no cover up' to son of diasbled woman killed in August Town

Andrew Holness

Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says he was left touched by a conversation he had with the son of Suzanne Bogle, the 44-year-old disabled woman who was killed during a reported crossfire between the security forces and an armed gang operating in the August Town area of St Andrew on May 27.

Speaking at a press conference Sunday, the prime minister said he earlier in the day had an extensive conversation with Bogle's son who has been identified as Omari Stephens on social media. He described Stephens as a “very impressive young man, the best of what Jamaica has to offer”.

Holness said he was moved by the “very touching story” of a young man from the inner-city who was doing well. He described Stephens as “trying to make the best of life,” and said he has responsibility for his entire household, including persons who are otherwise-abled.

“And now to have the burden of the loss of his mother,” Holness added.

The prime minister said he was particularly moved by a statement from Stephens that he did not want his mother’s death to go in vain or be ignored by the state.

“I found that to be very profound,” he said.

Members of the security forces at the scene of a fatal shooting reportedly during a gun battle between law enforcers and gang members in August Town, St Andrew on Wednesday afternoon.

And the prime minister noted that despite the advent of the Independent Commission of Investigation (INDECOM), “There is still a sense where people feel they don’t get social justice and it is imperative that the government at all times reassures all citizens that the government cares, the government will ensure that nothing in these matters will be hidden, (or) will be swept under the carpet…

“The social and economic status of the victim does not determine the outcome of justice,” he said.

The prime minister said he gave Stephens the assurance that “In no way, shape or form will there be any attempt to cover up; we will seek to have justice done in this matter”.

Stephens had earlier on Sunday used the social media platform Twitter to announce that the prime minister had assured him that he was committed to ensuring that justice is served for his mother’s death.

“Friends, as I endure the pain and grief of the tragedy meted out to my dear mom, I was encouraged by a personal call from the prime minister,” Stephens said in his post.

“He has made a personal commitment to ensure justice is served and has offered his support to my family and I in this challenging time,” Stephens added.

He also expressed his gratitude and asked for the public’s continued support until the situation is resolved.

According to the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, members of the security forces who were in the area where Bogle was killed were attacked by heavily armed men about 2.20 pm.

"The security forces came under heavy gunfire in the area and when the shooting subsided, a woman was seen suffering from gunshot wounds. She was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead," the CCU said.

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