AFTER working for decades in the United States, senior psychologist Oswald Facey was planning to spend his retirement supervising a free health centre at his home in Twickenham Park, Spanish Town, St Catherine.
Now he is about to shelve those plans - all because of criminals who broke into the house on McMeil Boulevard and made off with several items. The passion he once had for his home community is now gone.
Facey, who is in his 70s, said that sometime last month while he was in the United States seeking funds to continue construction on the centre, armed men climbed two storeys up onto the roof of his house, sawed away a grille around a sky window, and entered.
"They trashed the whole place. Everywhere was ransacked," said the disappointed elder, gesticulating as he recalled how he found his place when he returned home on August 5.
It seemed the bandits were looking for money, he said. They searched every room, ripped through drawers, overturned mattresses, clothes, and opened just about anything that seemed a good hiding place for cash.
They didn't find any cash, and instead palmed two computers, a computer modem, a DVD player, a see-through telephone unit, radio, iron, a set of kitchen knives, construction tools, and a gift set that Facey doubts can be replaced.
Yet they were not finished. The thieves unscrewed a compressor from Facey's refrigerator before climbing back through the sky roof. Once outside, they made sure to scrap an air conditioning unit on the roof before leaving.
Some of the loot seemed too heavy for the criminals to climb back down the side of the house with, so they left the lighter, less valuable things, like a kitchen mat, behind.
The incident has left Facey and his daughter, Caroline, who has a PhD in cancer research, and who was also planning to work in the completed centre, shocked and paranoid.
"When I came here I found a knife that they left behind. It was their knife. They took it with them. That means that they would have killed me if they came in here and saw us," said Facey. "This was my community. I left here in 1969 and I always come back and try to help people in the community, but this place needs to come back as a whole," he said.
Facey and his daughter, out of fear for their safety, have had to constantly check on each other throughout the nights during their latest stay in Jamaica. Every person who walks past their gate is thought of as a suspect, they said.
"People in the community know who did it. And these people here are going to suffer for it, too, because I have helped a lot of people. But I am not helping anybody else until somebody comes forward with some information," said Facey.
He explained that the medical centre, which many of his colleagues in the US were anxious to visit and work, was only the first of his plans for the community. He also wanted to open a school.
"I can walk even down the road, in that bad area there, and talk to anyone in the community because all of them know me. Some people call me Grandfather and some people call me Elder. But right now I don't even know if I want to do anything. I'm just fed up," he said.
"I have been working in the United States for many years and now I am retired. The [US] government said that we must go home. Now I come home and this is what is happening. It's a shame," he said, fuming.
Apart from informing the police who processed the house, the father and daughter have not told any relatives or friends about the break-in and robbery. They said they are too embarrassed.
"I mean, you are coming home and you expect to feel like you are at home, and you come home to find the place ransacked. Every hour we have to be checking on each other to see if we are all right in the nights," said Caroline.
"This medical centre is something that is unique. People try to do things out of the goodness of their hearts, and... how it go? 'Yuh sorry fi mawga dog and him tun roun bite yuh.' That is how I feel right now," she said.
"You know how many of my friends want to come here; even white people? But after this I don't know about that," she added.
Caroline said that on several occasions, her father has been asked by relatives to leave the Twickenham Park community to live in the upscale Cherry Gardens in St Andrew, which is much safer. But Facey has repeatedly ignored those requests, she said. He believes that his purpose is to help people in Twickenham Park.
"That's just the person he is," Caroline said.
The two told the Sunday Observer that they haven't received any updates from the police regarding their investigation into the robbery. Facey, however, believes that he has a clue regarding one of the persons involved.
He said that before he left Jamaica last September, he contacted a company to service two air-conditioning units on his roof. He and one of the workers sent by the company established a relationship, one that saw them exchanging telephone numbers.
Facey said that the youngster expressed concerns about his salary and about his hopes of completing electrical school. The elder volunteered to assist.
Days before he arrived in August, he called the repairman to inform him of his visit. The repairman, Facey said, told him that there was a problem at the house but said that the two would talk when Facey returned to the island.
The day that Facey returned to find his house ransacked he called and informed the workman, and told him that he had called the police.
Since then the workman has not contacted him, Facey said, noting that he has turned over the man's number to the police.