Community hero murdered - Bullet Tree mourns pastor who opened his home for children to learn
The children of Bullet Tree, a small community in Petersfield, Westmoreland, now face an uncertain future following the murder of Garnet Foster, the man who has been playing a pivotal role in their education since COVID-19 disrupted school life more than a year ago.
Foster, 45, and his wife Camille transformed their yard into a school last year and provided Internet access to children for online classes. When this newspaper told the story of the selfless effort of the Fosters, there were 25 students at the 'front yard' school. That number has since swelled to 50; but come today, there will be no class.
Last Friday morning, which is little under a month since Camille flew to the United States, tragedy struck in Bullet Tree. Garnet, a businessman and pastor, was discovered inside his bedroom covered in blood, with a knife sticking from his neck.
The police theorised that he was stabbed while he slept, and he later succumbed to his injuries at the Savanna-la-Mar General Hospital in the parish. The police also reported that they have taken his eldest son into custody in connection with his death.
Kind-hearted community man
The community has been left devastated by the sudden death of the kind-hearted community man. Many parents told THE STAR that his murder is the worst thing to have happened in Bullet Tree.
"Foster a the community farmer; him a the community preacher; him a the community teacher; him a the community principal. His is like a 10" spanner - that is the spanner inna the tool kit that no mechanic can't do without," one resident said.
"The man tek wi children them out of nothing and mek them into something. Him teach them everything. Wi have children who could not read and write, and because a Foster, them a now scholar. Wi even have children who just pass dem exam and gone a high school because a Foster," the parent added.
Kereen Burke told THE STAR that she has two small daughters who just started classes with Foster, and news of his murder has left them in shock.
"My two daughters them just start go to his school and mi already start to see where him helping them a lot. Come tomorrow (Monday), I don't know where to turn because dem they don't have nuh school to go to. I just don't know what I am going to do," Burke said.
In November, when this newspaper visited Bullet Tree, Camille Foster said she and her husband noticed that most of the kids are not at the stage where they should be and so they began assisting them with their schoolwork, free of charge.
Garnet, who the children called 'Principal', is an accountant by profession, but lost his job due to the COVID-19 pandemic.