MONTEGO BAY, St James — Despite the tremendous hurt, the father of the eight-year-old girl who was raped at gunpoint at her home in Irwin Point, St James, last Monday night says he has forgiven the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
"Really and truly, if man could crucify the Almighty (Jesus) and him forgive them, then who am I not to forgive these people. Mi lef dem to God and time man. God knows weh him a do, yuh nuh. Mi lef dem to prayer," he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
Despite this magnanimous gesture, the little girl's father — his voice cracking at times during the telephone interview — said that he has been devastated by the sheer horror of the crime.
"From it happen mi nuh really eat, mi not even think about food. All mi a think about is mi daughter. It's not a feeling weh you can really explain. Right now as mi a talk to you, eye water coming down mi eye," he said.
"Mi hurt by this, but trust mi, dem guys deh who do it should know that there is a bigger boss up top a watch... so I leave everything in the police hands and Father God hands; because I am not a violent man and I don't render evil fi evil," said the man, whose name the Sunday Observer has witheld to protect his traumatised child and their family's security.
The eight-year-old, along with her mother and three other female members of her family, was robbed and raped after their home was invaded by gunmen late Monday evening.
All five were taken to hospital for treatment. Four of them were later released, but up to press time last night the eight-year-old, who had to undergo surgery, remained in hospital.
The incident has drawn widespread rebuke from across the island, while two brothers have been taken into custody in connection with the matter.
Yesterday, the father of the eight-year-old — who lives some distance away from his daughter — recounted that he got the disturbing news of the incident in the wee hours of Tuesday.
"I was at home just getting ready to get some sleep when I got a call, like 3:30 am (Tuesday morning). My babymother (the eight-year-old's mother) called me screaming and crying and I couldn't hear clearly what she was saying. Then, someone took the phone from her and said: 'Your daughter has been raped, gunmen raped her, you need to come to the hospital right now'," he recalled.
He said immediately after he got the disturbing news, he "tun fool".
"Bwoy, trust mi, mi fling on mi shirt wrong side, boot fling on, an mi not even know if a di right boot... one ah di time, di way I was moving fast I don't even know if the boot was on the right foot."
He said he jumped into his car and had a fender bender as he sped off in an effort to get to the hospital in "record time".
"Right now the car bumper lick-off, because when I was taking the corner from out of my yard, the front part of the car lick up pon di gate," he told the Sunday Observer.
The journey from his house to the hospital would normally take him about 25 minutes by car, but he surmised that it took him about 10 minutes to get there that awful Tuesday morning.
He revealed yesterday, shortly after visiting her daughter at hospital, that doctors there say she is "recuperating nicely," and that everything will be alright.
"Mi just want to know that mi daughter will be okay; she will need therapy and counselling and I am just focused on helping her to get better," he pointed out, adding that the child's mother is traumatised and doesn't want to be anywhere in Jamaica or this side of the world right now.
He said that given a chance, he would move his daughter from Jamaica.
"She doesn't want to be here (Jamaica) anymore, or in this area, she wants to leave," he said as emotion caused his voice to fade to a distant whisper.
He, nonetheless, lauded Jamaicans for the tremendous support that his daughter and the other victims have been receiving.
"Jamaicans have been supportive, church people have been praying, mi really haffi give thanks... every mother feel it, every father feel it," he said.
Meanwhile, veteran broadcaster Barrington "Barry G" Gordon, who does the afternoon show on the Montego Bay-based Mello FM, said the Barry G Health Foundation, comprising listeners to his programme, has decided to finance the relocation and schooling of the eight-year-old.
"I have met with the father today (yesterday) and he has agreed for us to relocate her to another parish and to taking care of all the expenses associated with her schooling," said Gordon.
"Money to do that is not a problem, with the spirit of the listeners, it will be done," he assured.
He argued that so crucial is the well-being of the eight-year-old, that he is prepared to make representation to the United States Embassy for a visa to be granted for her to continue her schooling overseas, if it becomes uncomfortable for her to live in another parish.
"She has a fit and able relative living in the US, so I will be prepared to do that," he stressed.