About 20 bathers at Las Cuevas beach were terrorised and robbed by three men armed with cutlasses, a gun and two dogs on Sunday afternoon.
The scene yesterday at the beach was a far cry from the terror of Sunday-bathers were wading in the water with pelicans sitting behind them, a game of cricket was being played and stray dogs were running on the sand.
Carl Hernandez, one of the lifeguards who was on duty Sunday, said a couple who were bathing in the sea ran to his post and alerted him that there were three slim, dark men who were robbing people on the beach.
"I ran to the office and called the police, but there was no response," he said.
"We then called the lifeguard office in Maracas Bay, who (the guards) drove to the police station and told them what was going on."
By the time the police got to Las Cuevas, Hernandez said, about 20 people had been robbed of their jewelry, money and cell phones.
The men escaped by running through the nearby swamp.
One of the victims of Sunday's attack said she was liming with several friends on the beach when the men pounced on her group and announced a hold-up.
They threatened to let the dogs loose on them and shoot them if they tried to escape. They then robbed them of cash and cell phones, the victim told the Express on condition of anonymity.
One of her friends was treated by a doctor yesterday because she was traumatised, the female victim said, adding that she saw two other people run into the choppy water to escape the bandits.
Lifeguard Hernandez said the robberies took place on the eastern end of the beach close to Las Cuevas Point-an area approximately 1.5 miles long-which is not manned by the lifeguards.
The three lifeguard booths, which are on the beach, are on the western side, closer to the fishing depot area.
Hernandez said robberies on the beach had been taking place for some time.
"Bathers need to be aware and they should not pass the lifeguard patrol area," he said.
"Long time, they used to run and snatch your bag but now they doing it at gunpoint. The police should be patrolling the beach and if they wanted to catch the thieves, they could. They need to make time."
When the Express visited the Maracas Police Station yesterday, officers on duty said they could not divulge any information and would not confirm if there was a robbery.
In July the Tourism Development Company issued tenders to improve security at Las Cuevas and other areas.
It said in a paid newspaper advertisement: "The TDC, the implementing arm of the Ministry of Tourism, is seeking to improve security services offered at each of the following visitor facilities in Trinidad: La Brea Pitch Lake, Maracas Bay, Las Cuevas Beach, Manzanilla Beach and Vessigny Beach."
The deadline for submission of the tenders for security services was July 20. It could not be determined yesterday if anyone has been awarded a contract to supply security services.
Former TDC president Dr James Hepple said: "The security companies would be responsible for the security of visitors, their cars, the TDC's personnel and its assets, inclusive of inventory stored at site, as well as the Ministry of Tourism's jet skis, ambulances, ATVs (recreational all terrain vehicles) boats, etc located at our core sites. They will be posted in all the areas on a daily basis 24/7."
And who does pitch tent and cook curry duck and play blast chutney music in Las Cuevas?? Indians! So the bandits terrorising indians on the beach now. Yuh cyar stay in yuh house, yuh cyar shop in the malls, yuh cyar go to the Waterloo Temple to pray.. and now yuh cyar go to the beach.
How fucking long now the life guards asking for guns? How muddercunt long? The police station closest to the beach is the worse one in Trinidad, so no wonder the lifeguards cudn't get back up.
20 persons robbed and terrorised by bandits, and not a police in sight. Imagine the lifeguard had to leave his post and drive to the police station to make a report. What kinda fuckery is that?
But yet yuh hearing bout all these grand plans for the beaches. Bullshit.