'PLEASANT CHILD': Imani Green, 8, was on holiday in Jamaica when she was shot dead by a gunman (pic: family handout)
JAMAICA'S national security minister has blamed a "lottery scam" for the killing of an eight-year-old schoolgirl who was shot dead by a hooded gunman last Friday.
Imani Green, diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia, was visiting family on the Caribbean island to help with her medical condition when she was gunned down in the north coast town of Duncans, in Trelawny.
In an interview with the The Gleaner Bunting said the shooting, in which three others were wounded, was related to “a dispute among persons in and around the community involved in the perennial lottery scam”.
According to the security minister, the lottery scam is responsible for more than a 100 deaths across the island.
Bunting said the British schoolgirl's death was being investigated at the highest level.
He added: “The senseless killing of a young, innocent child must outrage all well-thinking Jamaicans, and cause us to join our security forces in an intensified effort to rid our communities of criminals."
Eight people have since been arrested and taken in for questioning.
Police have not ruled out reprisal for a similar incident on December 1 as a motive for Friday night's incident.
Donna Green, Imani's mother, who is also a British citizen, was too distraught to speak yesterday afternoon when the The Gleaner visited her home.
But her other daughter, 19-year-old Jamila Palmer, said her mother had dedicated herself fully to caring for Imani, a pupil at Fircroft Primary School, in Tooting, south London.
The family arrived on the island on December 27 and were expected to return to the UK at the end of the month.
She had been given special permission for an extended holiday because of her medical condition.
Palmer, who is also vacationing on the island, said Imani's father Richard Green, who lives in Balham, fainted after hearing the news.
He has since been hospitalised.
Her grandmother, Sandra Fisher, who wept openly, was beside herself when she spoke.
“She is such a pleasant child; she is the daughter of my son who migrated to England around seven years ago,” Fisher said.
She added that because of Imani's illness, it was recommended that she spend time in a warmer climates particularly during winter.
"I heard the shot fired and went to investigate because I knew she had gone in that direction. When I went to the shop I saw her body on the ground,” she said as she recalled the horror.
It is reported that Imani was shot in the head by a lone gunman who fired a barrage of bullets in the shop run by a relative. The young girl was reportedly shot in the head.
Three others - Nadra Linton, otherwise called Pinky, Renaldo Hyatt and Christine Hyatt-Thorpe were also shot, but are in stable condition.
It is understood that the 'hooded gunman' alighted from a car about 100 metres away, walked up to the shop, shot the occupants, then walked back to the car and escaped.
Bullet holes in various parts of the shop told the tale of the brutal attack.
British Honorary Consul to Jamaica, Peter Kellond, who visited the home, said the police from the Falmouth Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) were doing a good job.
He declined to make any further comment.