A 23-year-old University of the West Indies student and a 30-year-old academic colleague from Norway were looking forward to a relaxing afternoon yesterday on Grange Bay beach, Tobago, but the idyllic trip turned into a nightmare when the pair were robbed by two bandits.
According to the student, W Ford (she asked that her first name to be removed for privacy), the incident occurred at about 2.45 p.m.
When she and her Norwegian colleague, W Stavik, arrived on the beach about an hour and 15 minutes prior, they noticed two tall, skinny men staring at them. Ford said they looked about 20 years of age. The usually secluded beach had about four other people.
About five minutes after she and Stavik went into the water to bathe the two men began searching their bags. The pair came out of the water but were chased back into the bay by the taller of the two men who wielded a cutlass.
After the bandits searched through the bags and found nothing of value, they then proceeded to search the towels and pockets of the clothing of Ford and her colleague. The men found Stavik's cellphone and Ford's credit card.
Ford and Stavik then came out of the water and appealed for help from two men on the road, who later said they were delivery drivers for Arawak chicken.
The drivers ran after the bandits with a piece of iron and chased them to the other side of the beach where they got into a blue and white fishing boat and escaped. The helpful drivers then telephoned the Old Grange Police Station.
Ford recalled the police arrived about five or ten minutes after and were "very helpful". She noted that while on the beach the bandits returned in the boat but escaped again after fleeing from the police.
"I still feeling traumatised. I still shaking. I have never been robbed before," she told the Express in a telephone interview.
Ford, who is pursuing a degree in biochemistry and biology, was in Tobago collecting seaweed samples for a paper and was being assisted by two representatives of a Norwegian university.
"I invited these people to have a good time (in Tobago). I feel ashamed. I feel embarrassed," she said.
Ford suggested that there should be more police patrols on secluded beaches like Grange Bay beach. The beach, known locally as "the Wall", is located just past Mount Irvine Golf Course and is mentioned on a number of tourist sites featuring Tobago.