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Brit couple flees T&T after armed robbery
British couple Amanda Binns, 40 and Elias Mark Jr, 33, who were in T&T for Carnival 2018 were forced to pack up and return to London with their two children, just hours after they were robbed at gunpoint of their phones and rental vehicle.
The incident occurred on the morning of February 6, just as they arrived at a relative’s home along Tumpuna Road in Arima, after attending Machel Montano’s Soca Kingdom concert in Port-of-Spain.
At about 2.20 am, as they exited the Toyota Rav 4 rental vehicle, two men approached them. One of the men “cocked” the gun and pointed it towards Mark’s face, demanding that he hand over his phone or “get shoot”. The men also took Binns’ phone before escaping in the SUV.
Binns’ mother is Trinidadian and Mark’s father is also Trinidadian. However, both are British nationals living in London, and have two children–a girl, aged three and a ten-month-old baby boy.
Speaking with the Sunday Guardian yesterday, Binns described the incident as “traumatic” but at the same time thanked God that they are alive today.
She said hours after the incident, she contacted British Airways and told them of the robbery and asked to be put on the next flight out of T&T. They departed that same day.
Binns explained that not only was she robbed, but she was shocked by the treatment they received after. The first was an issue with the police about jurisdiction in which the crime occurred and why they could not take their report, while the other was the treatment meted out to them by the car rental company that operates out of Piarco International Airport.
“First, when my father-in-law contacted the San Raphael Police Station they said they couldn’t take the report because it was not in their jurisdiction and directed us to La Horquetta Police Station. When Elias went there, La Horquetta police told them it was within San Raphael’s jurisdiction. Here, in London, people do not go through that. The police take the report and then contact whoever else and takes it from there,” Binns said.
“When we went to the rental company we weren’t even asked how we were doing…all they cared about was asking us a thousand questions and were only interested in if we saw what the gunmen looked like and what they were wearing, as though they were the police. They also wanted to charge us TT$9,000 for the insurance excess, given the fact that when I booked the vehicle in November via online I already paid £900, plus a further TT$3,000 deposit, when we actually got the vehicle last Thursday.”
Upon her return to London and still trying to come to terms with the robbery, Binns took to her Facebook page and wrote: “People, for those of you that don’t know Trinidad; to come away from an incident like this, unharmed, is quite literally, unheard of. It is not enough for bandits to rob you; they need to beat you, humiliate you, rape your wife and murder anyone they find in your house, parents, children, grandchildren and then murder you too. I swear to you I am not exaggerating. This is the state of Trinidad. Crime over there is violent and it is bloody and people who are victims do not walk away from incidents. They are carried away in body bags.”
Binns chose this way of highlighting the robbery on the heels of the UK issuing a travel advisory to its citizens because of the heightened crimes and criminal activities in T&T.
If the robbery had not occurred, the couple was due to return to London on February 23. They came to T&T so that their daughter could have experienced her first Carnival.
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