St. John’s Antigua- Residents of St John’s Rural South constituency held nothing back on Thursday, as they told police of terrifying attacks by masked men they say have been robbing and sexually assaulting women in the community for months.
The 80-plus residents gave law enforcement officers an earful as they related incidents in and around the Golden Grove New Extension area during a town hall meeting at Mount Zion Baptist Church.
People complained of having their homes broken into several times and valuables stolen, with women either raped or assaulted on multiple occasions.
As the stories were being told, a deafening silence appeared to fall on the room.
One woman said neighbours on either side of her property had been assaulted by masked men in recent weeks.
She said the incidents occurred in the wee hours of the morning on two separate occasions.
She continued that she has since been too afraid to leave her home to go to the gym, which is part of her daily routine.
“We need to have somebody on speed dial and once we get up and hear something, someone can be notified,” the woman said.
Another recounted that she had been robbed at gunpoint minutes after arriving home from work with her young daughter. She and her child were dragged out of a van, before thieves made off with her bag, vehicle, and groceries.
Men at the meeting spoke of varying incidents when they were forced to protect their families.
One said he woke up one morning to find he’d had valuables and money stolen as he and his family slept.
Throughout the meeting the need for more frequent patrols in the community was reiterated, along with better communication between residents and police.
Demands were also made that landowners move swiftly to clear overgrown bushes.
Present at Thursday evening’s gathering were National Security Minister Dr Errol Cort and parliamentary representative for the area Eustace ‘Teco’ Lake, who pledged their support to righting the wrongs in the community and assisting where possible.
Senior police in attendance included Inspector William Holder, Corporal Frankie Thomas, Assistant Commissioner Henry Christian, Deputy Commissioner Ivor David, CID head Superintendent Nuffield Burnette, Inspector Atley Rodney and Senior Sergeant Timothy Drew of the community policing department.
They, too, made impassioned pleas for residents to look out for each other and share whatever information they can with police.
They also urged residents to utilise the anonymous CrimeStoppers hotline 800-TIPS (8477) if they are afraid of making reports at local police stations.