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Million-dollar problem

Shereece White’s family can’t afford to fly her body home

BY EVERARD OWEN Observer correspondent

Tuesday, April 15, 2014    

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BUFF BAY, Portland — The family of Shereece White, the 21-year-old who was shot dead in Barbados on April 1, is now facing another dilemma: the inability to bring her body home for a proper burial due to financial constraints.

Maureen Johnson, White's mother, told the Jamaica Observer that she has been informed that it would cost $1 million to bring the body to Jamaica.

The woman said she appealed to the foreign ministry but was told that the ministry doesn't offer the kind of financial assistance she seeks.

"Poor me, I don't even know where to start all now, for basically mi nuh live nowhere," Johnson lamented. "She is the only help I have. She have two children and she go to try help the family."

She added: "She is my baby and the body will have to come out. I don't see any money yet or any help."

White had only been in Barbados a few months when she was killed. Her murder is the latest in a line of tragedy experienced by the family. Prior to this, Johnson lost two sons, one at the hands of gunmen in Kingston. The other drowned at Orange Bay, Portland. Johnson now has four adult children left — two boys and two girls.

Barbados police have charged 37-year-old Junior Willmount with White's murder, which was committed at an apartment she shared with a friend.

Earlier reports stated that White had just returned home from a club when she was shot.

During the interview with the Observer her family disputed initial reports that she was shot while playing with a gun. They instead said that a friend of hers had informed them that gunmen had burst into the apartment and shot her.

"Her death has had a great impact because she die and leave two young children — four- and two-year-old daughters — and it has affected her mother bad," stepfather Elroy Griffiths said.

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