“Pray Andrea, pray!”
Heartfelt words from kidnap victim Clint Arjoon who survived a horrifying kidnapping ordeal 19 years ago.
In an exclusive interview with Guardian Media, Arjoon said the kidnapping of Bharatt brought back the trauma of his past.
“I really feel it for her. This is something from which you never heal. You can never live as you did before,” Arjoon said.
Even though it has been four days since she was nabbed, Arjoon advised the family not to lose hope.
“There are people who were kidnapped for a week and more and they made it home. We can only hope that she can too,” Arjoon said.
He also urged her family to remain strong and not divulge any information related to finance as this could hurt the victim.
“Financial information is very important and should be withheld. There is always someone on the inside who is working along with them. As soon as they target someone, there is an aim and being able to get further financial information. Withholding certain information is necessary,” Arjoon urged.
Unlike other kidnap victims, Arjoon said he did not have the option of migrating abroad because he needed to stay in T&T to care for his parents.
However, he said the trauma of a kidnapping ordeal never left him and everything in his life changed.
“The things I used to do before the kidnapping, I no longer do. Being able to enjoy the beaches and rivers. That was something I enjoyed before, but now I can never feel safe in any public place. Businesswise, I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because I stopped going to site visits,” Arjoon said.
Arjoon also called on the police to nip kidnapping in the bud.
“In my experience, you cannot be careful enough with every scenario that you encounter daily. I have tried to be safe. I always observe my surroundings. Look for vehicles following you and try pay attention,” he said.
Arjoon said after he was kidnapped in 2002, a $2 million ransom was made for his safe return. He explained that the kidnappers beat him mercilessly for two days and had him tied up with duct tape from his head to his chin.
“It was only because of the expansive search operations of the police that the lone watchman who guarded me, abandoned his post.”
Arjoon said he managed to flee the dark apartment in Tunapuna where he was held captive.
Those memories, Arjoon said, has never left his head and almost 20 years later, he still relives the moments of trauma.
To add to his trauma, Arjoon said the kidnappers, who were eventually caught, were placed on a mere $5,000 bail.
“For two days I was held and there was constant beating. That is what was very hard to get over. Even after that when I needed certain assistance from the police and I did not get it. After the kidnapping, the kidnappers approached me twice and there was little help from the police.”
He said the ransom was not paid. “They took $30,000 from my credit card, my jewellery. Money and valuables in total were $60,000. They held me for $2 million ransom but they got $5,000 bail,” he added.
Arjoon urged Andrea to stand strong despite her conditions and he pleaded with the family and the police not to divulge unnecessary information. He also called on members of the public to report any detail that may relate to the kidnapping before it was too late.
Meanwhile, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of T&T Rev Joy Abdul Mohan said the church was appalled by the rapid increase in violent heinous crimes against citizens, especially women.
“The church cannot embrace justice, peace and love…if it fails to speak out and act accordingly to condemn violence against women and men,” she said.
Mohan said the T&T should never allow itself to reach the point where it is desensitised to the grievous assaults against humanity.”