Saturday, 04 August 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St. John's - An American husband and wife living in Antigua for the past three years are at their wits end with the manner in which the lone police outpost in English Harbour is handling security concerns in the community.
Victims of a burglary that occurred about a month ago, the couple is concerned that their woes are being considered to be irrelevant to the lawmen charged with the protection of the area.
As a result this perceived indifference the two have threatened to not only take the matter to the commissioner’s office, but also the international travel blogs – a move that could result in a worsened security image of Antigua & Barbuda in the eyes of potential visitors.
The incident occurred on the night of the popular annual all white affair dubbed ‘The Caribbean Snow Storm.’
According to the victims, the burglars entered their home while they were taking a shower and they are convinced that the perpetrators’ actions were targeted, since valuables like a computer, digital camera and even a wallet filled with money were overlooked as the culprits went directly for an iPad that sat across the room.
The intruders even stole a bowl full of spare change.
What is of more concern than the loss of the iPad, however, is the notion that the victims were being spied upon by the perpetrators, believed to be children..
"They walked past the valuables and went into the back and took the iPad from the bedroom. It’s pretty bad that people can walk into your house while you are in the shower and take what they want,” the victims said.
“I am really more burned up with the fact that apparently we were being peeped on in the bedroom because in order for them to target that item it meant they were peeping on us. So they watched us in our intimate moments and watched as we went into the shower. Both of us feel very vulnerable because anyone can just walk in and the police are not going to do anything about it,” one victim added.
The case was immediately taken to the police at the English Harbour Station, as the victims thought the matter was to be ‘open and close’. But that wasn’t the case. In fact, it took the police officers several weeks to even look over surveillance footage that would determine whether the premises was accessed from someone off the street of whether the act was committed by individuals already on the property.
In explaining the series of events that occurred from the time of the incident to earlier this week, the victims said they got the royal runaround from the police.
“It got to the point when it became clear to me that they were not even interested in pursuing this case. Every time I tried to speak to someone I got the runaround. There is one female constable that kept lying to me. I tried talking to the sergeant who didn't want anything to do with it; she just brushed me off saying that things aren't as easy as I think,” one of the victims said.
The husband admitted that he “flipped” at one point and “threatened to go to the media and tourist blogs” if some action was not taken to address the blatant security breach already identified to police. He said steps have already been taken in this regard.
A meeting with representative for the constituency Elston ‘Namba’ Adams has been set for next Wednesday August 8, and a meeting with the assistant superintendent Joseph Huges in charge of the English Harbour district on the same date.
“I am going to escalate this because what I have come to realize in living out here is that we really are on our own. I have not been able to get one satisfactory response from the police with the exception of one officer who talks well but doesn't follow through with what he says. We are sitting ducks down here,” the victim said.
It was noted that about one week ago, following the lengthy period of apparent inaction by the police, one of the victims decided to confront a possible suspected. Predictably, that individual denied any knowledge of the said event.
The couple observed that at the time the report was made there was only one officer on duty – and that officer kept interrupting the interview to address children she was apparently taking care of in the police station.
“I’m burned. Being violated like that, I will get over it but the part that concerns me is the way that police station functions. I think that maybe because I made noise, held them accountable and stomped my feet a little, they washed their feet on this and wouldn’t lift a finger,” he said.
"They have got to step up their game. There is no way they should function like that. People don’t feel safe. I have since moved. I can replace the iPad but if I get on a blog and talk about this I can guarantee you that Antigua stands to lose more.
“I am an expat but not one that wants to live in Jolly Harbor. I don’t want to have to go hide behind a gate. I appreciate the people and the culture here. I want to live in a village,” one of the victims said.
Police spokesman Sr. Sgt. William Holder said that the trend of robberies in the country is centered on areas of activity, like in English Harbour during Sailing Week and now during the Carnival in the city. Holder said there must be two sides to the story and although he has not been brought up to speed with the matter he would not go as far as to condemn the actions of the officers right off the bat.
“If they feel they made a report to the police and the matter isn’t being dealt with properly we have internal investigations. If the couple feel the officers did not deal with them fairly they have the right to make the report to either Headquarters of the Minister of National Security,” Holder said.
He said the police have noticed a trend in certain reports of theft in that area and they are looking to the matter with caution.
“I don't know what transpired. That would not come to me but I can’t speak of internal matters unless the Commissioner authorizes me to do so; and this would be related to police performance, which I can’t speak on,” Holder said.