Broadcasting from the precipice of the 2nd Dark Ages Live as it happens
Sunday, December 26, 2010
What Gets Hacked Off In The Caribbean, Stays In The Caribbean....
As they dozed in the sun on August 1, 2009, a man strolled into their garden and, seemingly without reason, started hacking at their bodies. The senseless and sickening nature of the assault made headlines around the world, but in its aftermath, as Peter and Murium began the slow journey to recovery from their terrible injuries, they leapt to defend Tobago. ....
It was a conversation that, even now, Peter and Murium Green find difficult to believe ever actually took place.
Farid Hinds, a minister for tourism on the Caribbean island of Tobago, had turned up at their home in Somerset bearing gifts – an ornament featuring a miniature steel drum and a brightly patterned sarong.
The couple invited Mr Hinds in and, in return, they were asked to return to Tobago to take part in its annual carnival.
'Like idiots, we posed for photographs with their ridiculous gifts, because our injuries were still so bad at that stage that we didn't have the energy to refuse.
'But the idea that we would take part in a carnival to celebrate Tobago after what we'd been through? We still can't take it in.'
Indeed, the couple still bear the scars – both physical and mental – of the machete attack that almost killed them.
When Peter and Murium first bought their holiday home in Tobago eight years ago, they were running a hotel in Wellington, Somerset. Their plan was to retire as soon as they could and spend much of their time in Tobago.
'We had enjoyed a lovely holiday on the island and at the airport on the way home we met another British couple who told us they lived in Tobago, which gave us the idea to buy a place of our own,' says Murium, 61.
But the truth is that Peter and Murium had already begun to worry about Tobago's rising crime rate long before they were attacked.
'The longer we were there, the more of the other side of Tobago we saw,' says Peter, 66.
'We knew women who had been raped and other people who had been violently attacked.
'We were robbed four times and we had to install heavy bars across the windows at our villa. I saw for myself the corruption that is part of everyday life when I had a car accident. It wasn't my fault, but I was asked to pay a fine of 5,000 local dollars [about £500] and saw a policeman share it out among his colleagues in front of me.
'This year, there have been more than 400 murders there. It's not safe.'