'Police dem wrong'

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'Police dem wrong'

Boyfriend of pregnant woman found dead in water tank after fleeing gunshots recounts ordeal

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Staff reporter
kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, September 24, 2020

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Having lost his pregnant girlfriend after she fell into a water tank and drowned in Settlement, near Royal Flat in Manchester — a month shy of her delivering their baby — a man is blaming the police for the delay in finding her.

Nardesha Smith, who was visiting her boyfriend in the community, terrified by gunshots last Friday, fell into an open concrete water tank. She had been seeking cover in bushes as gunmen struck, and tried to run to safety.

The 19-year-old's boyfriend, who spoke to the Jamaica Observer on condition of anonymity on Monday, broke down and cried as he explained what happened on the night of horror, when gunmen killed Aljay Green, 20, as panicked residents fled or hid.

“Mi hold her, but she flash mi off twice,” he recounted, claiming that the police who were on the scene ignored his distress and declined to help him find her.

“The police dem wrong, because when dem come mi tell dem seh mi babymother up there [in bushes], and dem tell mi say mi cyaa come up nuh further,” he claimed.

Instead, he said the cops took him to the police station for questioning.

“Dem carry mi guh down a station fi about three hours, so in [that] space of time mi coulda find mi babymother or anything could have happened. But the police dem wrong,” he said.

He continued: “Mi a tell you say mi babymother deh up inna the bush and yuh nah guh wid mi guh look fi mi babymother? Look into that.”

Head of the Manchester police, Superintendent Gary Francis, told the Observer yesterday that he will be looking into the claims of Smith's partner.

“I am learning of this for the very first time, so I will investigate his claims,” he said.

On the matter of the two deaths in the area, the superintendent said the police are investigating.

Reports from the police are that Green was at home about 8:40 pm when he was heard arguing with men outside. Shortly after, explosions were heard. The police were called to the location and a wounded Green was seen and taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The police report also said that Smith heard the explosions and ran into bushes to hide. She fell into a water tank and drowned.

According to one resident, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, Smith panicked last Friday.

“She and her boyfriend were outside and him tell [her] to stoop down. Him say him hold her again and she flash him off and run,” the resident said.

“She panic when she heard the gunshot and mussi feel seh somebody a come same way and she run, and it look like she end up right a the tank. She and her boyfriend did a try hide and she just panic and run,” the source said.

“A next month she did fi have the baby… She doesn't know the place because is her babyfather she did a visit,” the individual said.

Unsecured water tanks have long been a safety issue, especially in rural communities where households depend on rainwater harvesting.

Checks with the Manchester Municipal Corporation by the Observer revealed that there is no requirement for householders to secure water catchment tanks.

“It is up to you if the tank is to be secure or not,” the Observer was told by telephone Tuesday.

Another representative at the municipality said: “Basically, for the council, it is just a condition that is imposed on [building] approvals that the tank should be a minimum of 28,500 litres and the minimum size should be three metres by three metres by three metres.”


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