Editor’s note: A German tourist’s recent visit to Dominica cannot be described as a good experience. In an email to Dominica News Online he related a terrible episode that has him thinking twice about the safety of visitors to the Nature Isle.
Below is the edited email from the German tourist. DNO has decided not to publish his name as this could expose his friends and contacts in Dominica to danger.
I was a German tourist, visiting my friend and her family in Dominica. My friend is local and speaks a very Dominican accent. I am white, European, obviously not local, speaking a foreign accent.
On June 15, 2011, we were looking for Batibou Beach, Hampstead. We asked at the tourism information desk for the way there. A few bends further north, we also flagged a car and asked directions. The guys in the car showed us the beach. My friend immediately said, “They look like drug people” (and you could smell that). But we did not really worry.
At the beach there was another couple, a French tourist and his tour guide from Calibishie. We were talking, having a good time. When they wanted to leave, we got ready to leave, too.
My friend at that point saw a green Toyota pickup in the bushes, but she didn’t deem this important.
When the other couple left the beach, a second after, three masked men with cutlasses came upon us. Two attacked me, one came for my friend. They threw us down, bound our hands, blindfolded us and demanded all our valuables.
They asked me where we are from and so I told them. They were obviously shocked that they had attacked a local. For couple seconds they seemed to think about discontinuing the whole thing.
Then they brought us further along the beach in the bushes. We had to lie down flat and shut up.
Two of them went back to search the car. One stayed behind with us.
Then followed a good three hours on the ground. We were waiting for it to get dark. They talked, went to smoke, were on the phone. At that point, my friend could get into conversation with them. They loosened her handcuffs. She was also allowed to sit up. I had to stay on the ground and was called degrading names such as “Babylon Boy” and stuff like that.
They went through my wallet and asked me about all my cards and what they are. I didn’t understand their accents too well, so I got smacked all the time for not answering properly. At one point they put a plastic bag over my head so that I was about to suffocate.
When I was lying there, being beaten and called names, given the plastic bag over my head, I really feared for my life. It is a feeling that cannot be described. There was so much deep hatred for that white boy. They made reference to the history of black people and things that whites had done to them. And now they had one of the perpetrators in their hands.
After dark, they brought us back to the car and we left the beach, all in our car. They had called a friend to come and pick up theirs.
In the bushes, they changed clothes and put them into a backpack. This they will eventually forget in the car.
They brought us to Calibishie then. My friend there had to go to the ATM and withdraw EC$1,000 with my VISA card. At that point they had to remove her blindfold and she saw their faces. I stayed back in the car with a cutlass on my neck. After she had left the car, they called somebody and told him that there is a girl at the ATM right now and he should keep an eye on her and stay on the phone to tell them if she did something she was not supposed to do.
After they got the money, we were driving around for a while. They wanted to go home to where we lived to seize the valuables from our apartment. But the car was out of gas, not enough to reach where we were living. So they eventually left the car in Marigot and let us go. They forgot their backpack in the car, within which we later found their pants, our digital camera, our CDs, the speakers of the car.
We drove some miles, then stopped at a bar and called the police.
The police took our reports one or two days later. We gave them all the details, especially those that could help to track the fellas down. The most important are:
– My friend saw a face (police doesnt have a sketcher though, so no picture was made)
– They drove around in the car, left fingerprints everywhere
– We had their pants, therefore know their sizes
– We saw their car, a green Toyota pickup
– we heard them calling a 275 number. This is a postpaid account, which are not too numerous, especially in that area.
– We showed the police where we were dropped off.
– At least one of them was from the area, he spoke with a very north east accent
However, nothing more happened. The police told us that there had been five similar incidents during the past three weeks, but allegedly nobody got injured. This wasn’t the truth though for a former employee of my friend’s mother got severly beaten when he was robbed a few days earlier, it took 18 stitches to sew his wounds.
Anyway, we were not given any more information as to what is going on. Nobody was interested in the face or any other thing. They even asked us to investigate ourselves for that is normally the most successful thing.
Nobody, not family nor friends, knew about the danger. They were all shocked. So we called the Ministry in Roseau and eventually met with Alvin Bernard.
He seemed to take it serious that countries like Jamaica or the Dominican Republic warn their tourists of where not to go and what not to do and thus give them a sense of security. Police cares, crime is tackled. Not so in Dominca though!!
What we find most scandalous, however, is that no appropriate warnings are issued and no sufficient efforts are made to catch the fellas. The region up there is not too big and people know each other. It should be more than possible to find them.