Gunshot shatters plans for baby’s birthday party

July 08, 2021
Whitney Ferguson carries her one-year-old child, Romario McCain, who was shot during a  crossfire between gunmen and members of the Jamaica Defence Force in Denham Town, Kingston, in May.
Whitney Ferguson carries her one-year-old child, Romario McCain, who was shot during a crossfire between gunmen and members of the Jamaica Defence Force in Denham Town, Kingston, in May.

A few weeks ago, Whitney Ferguson was busy making plans for her son's second birthday party. She has, however, been forced to shelve those arrangements after her firstborn was shot and injured in western Kingston.

"I won't be keeping his birthday party because how I would love for him to enjoy his birthday, he will not be able to do it. He will not be able to even sit up with the cast being on him. I feel bad about the situation, not because he is home means that I am cool with the whole situation," Ferguson said.

Her son, Romario, was shot and injured in a crossfire between gunmen and soldiers from the Jamaica Defence Force at the intersection of Beeston and Oxford streets in Denham Town on May 21. The bullet truck Romario in his right thigh before grazing the left leg.

"For his birthday, his dad was planning to come here and we would have done a photoshoot. He also loves bikes and cars, and we planned to get him a remote bike, that are for two year olds as a surprise. His dad and I also planned to go to Ochi for a weekend, because I even requested two weeks off from work. All of that has changed because throughout this situation, I have not been to work for one month and a week, because I have to be here with him up and down. It has been hard," Ferguson said.

It is unclear who fired the shot that hit the baby.

Denyelle Anderson, senior public relations officer at the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), the state body that probes incidents of abuse by the security forces, said the matter is still being investigated.

"All the ballistics, including the weapons, were submitted to the Government lab for examination and testing. The results are still outstanding," Anderson told THE STAR yesterday.

Ferguson said that it has been more than a month since she last received an update on the matter.

"The last communication I had with the police was to give them the statement from my point of view on what I have heard, and that was early last month. I have heard from the social worker that came to my home to visit to see where my son will be staying and to see if the place is secure. INDECOM did reach out, the person who has the case has visited my son more than once at the hospital, but other than that, nothing else," she said.

The mother, though thankful that her boy did not lose limb or worse life, in the incident, said it has had a profound impact on their lives.

"When the cast is off, and he is able to walk again, I would still have to live with it, and as he gets older he is gonna see the scars on his legs, and he will want to know what happened," Ferguson said.

She said that Romario, who was previously jovial, has become withdrawn. She also said that the ordeal has been overwhelming, and she is fed up of the violence plaguing her community.

"I've lost family and friends to gun violence, but when I heard that my son was shot, it was the breaking point for me. I want it to stop," she said.

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