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Trinidad : “Not so nice to visit”

By Exilus Deceyon

Port of Spain, 04 Mar. 06 [AlterPresse] --- Eleven British nationals, here for the Carnival season, were left traumatised last weekend, after bandits stormed a private Maracas Bay home they were renting and made off with more than TT$100,000 worth of cash, clothing, jewelry and household items on Carnival Tuesday night.

Gerald Mejias, owner of the house, said six of the visitors were at home when five bandits stormed the house and held the group at gunpoint around 9.30 pm on Carnival Tuesday.

Among the victims was John Hughes, a former English chief inspector of police. The other victims did not want to be identified by name, although they did agree to pose for a photo.

Hughes told the Guardian that only one of the men wore a face mask. He said the other four were barefaced and seemed to range between 16 and 23 years.

Hughes said they were forced to lie on the ground while the bandits ransacked the entire house. The visitors were then locked in a bedroom at the back of the house.

The bandits eventually escaped with women’s shoes and boots, credit and debit cards.
Hughes said two of the women suffered slight injuries, but were more emotionally distressed.

The group, he said, arrived in T&T on February 23 for Carnival.

However, they are vowing never to return, despite the fact that their other experiences here and from everyone else was “warm.”

Hughes said they were happy to escape with their lives, but noted the most distressing
thing was that one of the bandits asked, as they were leaving:

“Do you still think Trinidad is a nice place to visit?”

“Which means they must have been hiding out in the dark for quite some time.

Because we did talk about how nice the country was,” he said.

Mejias said the group was willing to pay a reward of TT$50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gang.

An officer at Maracas Bay Police Station confirmed yesterday that a report was made about the robbery.

Contacted yesterday, British High Commissioner Ronald Nash said the incident was unfortunate.

“It’s a pity,” he said in a telephone interview.

“I mean, there were thousands of people at Maracas and Port-of-Spain, so it is extremely unfortunate.

“People are always traumatised when they get robbed.”

Nash said the incident had tainted an otherwise safe and peaceful Carnival.

He said he intended to visit one of the victims today at St Clair Medical Centre.

Nash also said he had not seen the police report.

No arrests have been made yet, but the police are working on some leads.

Cpl Jackson is continuing investigations. [ed gp apr 04/03/2006 11:00]