KEMISHA Coleman Henry stayed up waiting for Paul Henry, the father of her three children to return home when gunshots disrupted the quiet night, signaling the unthinkable.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer on Thursday, Coleman Henry, 27, struggled to find words to describe the last moments before Paul Henry, her husband of three years and partner for nine, was killed outside their home in Rocky Settlement, Clarendon, last Monday August 17th, 2020.
“I just can’t come to terms with the fact that them kill him. Them kill Paul and leave three babies on me,” Coleman Henry said in distress.
The woman recounted that her partner of over nine years had come home that night around 9:30 pm, before leaving again to go put up posters and flags around the community in preparation for Nomination Day the following Tuesday.
“I was sitting on the bed waiting on him, and the children were up with me waiting on him because they cannot sleep without their father in the house. As much as I am their mother, me and them don’t bond like how them bond with them father.
“The babies are feeling it right now, especially the second one. Everywhere Paul going, he goes with him. Every minute him a ask, ‘Why dem kill mi father? Mi love mi father, who mi a guh talk to now?’” the bereaved widow said.
The couple had two boys, one five-years-old, the other just 11 months old, and their eight-year-old daughter. Henry, 35, was the sole provider for his family.
He was also a polling division worker for Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Clarendon South Eastern candidate Pearnel Charles Jr.
The Observer last week, reported the police as having ruled out political rivalry as the motive behind Henry’s killing. It was suggested by police that Henry’s death might have been in connection to a dispute he had with some fisherfolk in the community.
Checks with the Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force revealed that investigations were ongoing and a clear motive has still not been established.
However, Henry’s widow and, his mother, 69-year old Almanda Bent, are vehement that their loved one was not involved in any dispute or wrongdoing that could have led to his murder.
“I don’t want to rule out anything. I want it to be thoroughly investigated,” Henry’s grieving mother said. “He was a good son. The two of us are always together, especially when it comes to politics. He was the captain for the PD [polling division] and I am the supervisor,” she added.
“Paul never have to do anything illegal to get anything because we are all behind him. Him have six sisters and one brother. I have 10 children, two of them dead, leave eight, and now Paul dead leave seven.”
Bent, a dressmaker by trade, said she has not been able to work since her son’s murder.
“I feel numb and dead inside. I do dressmaking and I have a lot of uniform to sew, but I can’t even work right now because I don’t have the strength to do it,” the elderly woman lamented.
Coleman Henry insisted further that the police could not have ruled out any motive for her husband’s killing since up to Friday she had not given a statement to them about the incident.
“I don’t know what the police are saying because I don’t even talk to them yet. Tuesday and Wednesday I was still in shock, I couldn’t really talk to anybody.
“The police should rule nothing out. They must walk and talk with everybody. The only thing that Paul was involved in was politics. That is Paul’s sports and everybody knew him as a captain. I couldn’t rule out anything to say it’s not politics,” Coleman Henry stated.
She went on: “When Paul died the night, he went to put up posters for the MP and when Paul was coming in the yard them kill him. By the next morning after them kill Paul, them take down every poster that Paul put up.”
Left now as an unemployed single mother, Coleman Henry was despondent about her prospects of finding a job while also having to care of an 11-month-old baby.
“I used to work as a cashier but because of having the baby I stopped. Right now it’s my family I’m depending on,” the woman said, speaking highly of Henry, describing him as “an amazing father”.
“I don’t want anybody to put out anything bad about Paul. He was an amazing father and a great husband. Paul will get up before me to make breakfast for his kids before he goes anywhere. Him bathe them and everything.”
“The whole family is in shock because of the type of person Paul was. Everybody is in shock and crying,” she added. “I want justice for him and the police must try every means to make sure justice come out of it. Anything they can do to find out who kill Paul,” Coleman Henry pleaded.
The family has been contacted by the Victims Services Division of the Ministry of Justice which will be providing grief counseling.
JLP candidate Charles Jr denounced acts of violence against party supporters and workers in a news release on Friday.
“I am extremely concerned about the escalation of violence and intimidation against JLP supporters in the constituency, in particular, the Rocky Point Division, within the past few days,” Charles Jr said.
“On the night before Nomination Day, Monday, August 17, our polling division captain, Paul Henry, was shot and killed by assailants shortly after installing JLP billboards in Rocky Settlement. Just over 48 hours later, another JLP worker was viciously attacked in his home some minutes after 3:00 am on the 20th of August 2020. Reports are that his door was forced open, he was attacked and suffered severe injuries. He is now admitted to the hospital and has undergone surgery.
“In view of this escalation of violence against our supporters within the constituency, and information suggesting that these acts are politically motivated, it is imperative that a full and thorough investigation be carried out. Again, we denounce all acts of violence and reiterate our intention to do everything to maintain peace in South East Clarendon.
“We call on others to do the same as well as to observe the code of conduct governing this election,” Charles Jr stated.