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NMIA Divestment

Today should have been the day Donette (surname withheld on request) celebrated with her relatives at her nephew’s nuptials. However, their excitement quickly turned to anguish when her family was robbed while on the way home from the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. After spending eight years away from the island in the United States, Donette, her husband, and her son arrived in Jamaica Friday afternoon in anticipation of the long-awaited wedding.

“We stopped by [a food establishment] in Portmore. We were not even in the place for 15 minutes and when we came back outside they had broken into the vehicle and our eight [pieces of] luggage were gone,” an obviously shaken Donette told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“We had to leave on the first flight out the Saturday morning because we had nothing at all to wear. I never thought something like that could happen in Portmore,” she stated.

“Everything in the suitcases was at least US$10,000,” Donette said. “My laptop, my iPad, our clothes — they’re all gone. I also had some things that were for the wedding.

“My husband is a really tall guy, he wears size 18 shoes and he had about three pairs in his suitcase. I don’t know how they’re gonna be able to fill those shoes,” she continued.

“It’s just a very big loss,” she noted as she sighed heavily. “We didn’t even spend 12 hours on the island. We had all the souvenirs, and those have my nephew and his wife’s names on them. There were so many things that were in there, man. Five of the suitcases were over 50 pounds, so you can imagine. Everything was in there for the wedding.”

Despite being in low spirits, Donette pointed out that, luckily, her husband had placed their travel documents in his pocket after the family came through the Customs area of the airport, as he thought they would have been required to show their documents again.

A policewoman from Waterford Police Station, where the incident was reported, told the Observer that the motor vehicle’s front “pivot window” was broken in order to gain entry to the vehicle.

“I went on the scene and, honestly, I feel it for the people, because you just come from airport and you want your little patty and the eight luggage gone, plus money and everything,” she said in disbelief.

“The car was fingerprinted and everything, [detectives from the] Scene of Crime [unit] came swiftly, but regarding the tape (closed-circuit television footage), I was told that the tape would not be available the following, day but the Monday, so I don’t know what happened after that,” she continued.

The constable, who requested anonymity, highlighted a need for better lighting and stewardship of some commercial parking areas in the community.

“The car parks are a problem… we need to see more lights… the place is too dark,” the officer noted.

“People need to be reminded, also, not to leave their laptops in vehicles — you can’t do that. Mi nah say dem nuh have dem rights enuh, but you have to protect your things at the same time,“ she added.

The disheartened bride, Monique, told the Observer that she thought of postponing the wedding ceremony but they decided to go ahead.


“Most of the stuff for the wedding was coming, but I didn’t feel it much for the stuff, but more about the things that my in-laws lost, because her (Donette) husband is really tall, so it would be difficult for them to find clothes out here. So I felt it more for them based on that,” she noted. “I was really looking forward to meeting them, because I’ve never met them in person, I just spoke to them over the phone, and based on conversation, they are really nice.”

She said that the late-evening robbery has left the family distraught, adding that Donette had fainted the following day and fractured her knee in the process.

“Dem do overtime, dem work hard to save up all a dem money, just to come and then just fi know say somebody just come and just do that to them, it was really devastating. Now dem affi go tek time and just try get back everything, all of eight bags, dem don’t even leave one. It just terrible,” Monique said.

Now, the family is concerned that their name and images are in the hands of the unscrupulous people who robbed them.

“[There] were souvenirs with our images — napkins, some goodie bags and other stuff for the bridal party. The names were printed on them. There were also stuff for us — gifts and clothes,” she said. There were also clothing and other items that were in luggage to be given to children living in rural Jamaica.


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