A ROUTINE trip to Las Cuevas turned into a nightmarefor Cassandra Patrovani-Smith and her boyfriend DarioConstantine recently.
On August 23 this year, the couple headed to the NorthCoast and stopped off at Las Cuevas.
"Dario met up with a friend on the beach so we chattedwith them for a while but they eventually left. Thewater was choppy but Dario and I decided to go for aswim," said Patrovani-Smith, human resources managerof Caribbean Communications Network (CCN), parentcompany of the Express.
Constantine said they kept watch over the vehiclewhile bathing. While doing so, he noticed three menheading in the direction of his pick-up.Two men were carrying cutlasses and the other had agun.
One of the men was mixed while the other two were of East Indian descent. Patrovani-Smith said they were dressed like hunters."I got a strange feeling and I told Cassandra, 'Let's get out of here'. As we got close to the vehicle, I said to the men, 'Like you all going to make a hunt',they said 'yes', (and) shortly after that, they said"this is a hold-up!" recalls Constantine.
The men then commanded Patrovani-Smith and Constantineto lie on the sand. "One of the men felt I was taking too long to hit the sand, so as he was about to planass me, I just fell to the ground,"said Constantine.
While the older of the three men rummaged through the pick-up, the other men kept watch over the couple withthe gun pointed at them.The men took five phones, $800 in cash, a cutlass anda bag with clothes from the vehicle. They then slashed one of the back tyres.
Before leaving, one of the mentold the couple to walk towards the sea.
"It was then that I thought, this is it-goodbye to theworld, to everybody. I really thought they would have shot us,"said Patrovani-Smith.
However, she said the men realised they were being watched by a couple who were picking coconuts so they calmly walked away and disappeared into the mangrove.
The incident on that Thursday evening hasn't stopped the couple from visiting Las Cuevas but they are more cautious now than before.
"It's something we do all the time. Everybody up on the North Coast knows me. I know that those guys arenot from the village, otherwise I would have known their faces. When we went to the police after the incident happened they told us that there was an upsurge of cases such as these on the beach," he said.
Constantine believes that the string of robberies at Las Cuevas has already had an adverse effect on thevillage.
"Because of the actions of those men, villagers believe that young, innocent men are now being targeted (as suspects) as a result," he said.
Constantine said the police know one of the bandits but they have been unable to catch him.
"The police are trying but to be honest they are not doing it the right way. To catch them you have tobehave like a hunter, you have to know the area well.I have even offered to help the police because I am a hunter and I know the terrain well," he said.
Constantine, who has been conducting eco-tours for thepast 15 years, said he will not continue touring unless he is fully armed.
"In all my time on the North Coast, I have never experienced anything like that evening on the beach,it was not easy, said Constantine. "Once that is going on, I will not take the chance and go to the beach at night-it's too dangerous."
How come these ole niggas at the Express does only notice when Indian commit crime.
They should take ah walk by the Magistrates Court in town and see all the fockin ole niggas who geh charge for teefin zaboca, fridge, stove, microwave, Kidnappin Indian, shooting they own brethren and so fockin forth.