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Michael Gayle's mother meets tragic end

Dr. Carolyn Gomes, human rights activist and former executive director of Jamaicans for Justice
By Clinton McGregor 
 
The Half Way Tree police are probing the fatal shooting of 74-year-old Jenny Cameron, mother of Michael Gayle, the young man who was beaten to death by members of the security forces in 1999.
 
Radio Jamaica News was informed that the elderly woman was walking home from work along a dirt track off Waltham Park Road Tuesday afternoon when she was shot by unknown assailants.
 
Ms. Cameron was shot in the back and later pronounced dead at hospital.
 
In August 1999, Ms. Cameron began a campaign for justice after her son was beaten by members of the security forces in Olympic Gardens.
 
The mentally ill man, who attempted to breach a curfew manned by members of the security forces, died from his injuries at Kingston Public Hospital two days after the beating.
 
The case was championed by Jamaicans for Justice which brought it to the attention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
 
Three years later, the Commission released a report on the incident in which it condemned the government for its handling of the matter.
 
The IACHR said the government should publicly apologise to the family and offer monetary compensation.
 
The then Director of Public Prosecutions, Kent Pantry, had ruled that no one was criminally responsible for Gayle's death.
 
At the time, then Attorney General A.J. Nicholson said Gayle's death was "deeply regrettable", and the State paid his family almost $3 million in a settlement.
 
Human rights activist and former executive director of Jamaicans for Justice Dr. Carolyn Gomes has expressed shock at the murder of Ms. Cameron.
 
"I really, really am so distressed by it, so hurt by it," said Dr. Gomes, who added that Jamaica had lost a "really amazing woman".
 
According to former JFJ executive director, Ms. Cameron's determination to get justice for her son led to the creation of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM). 
 
"She was the one that gave us the strength and push at Jamaicans for Justice to take the case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. And it took us some time. But we won that case.... She won. She won because the commission acknowledged that the government needed to put in place an independent investigative body to look into abuses at the hands of the security forces," Dr. Gomes outlined.
 


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