Trinidad bandit’s excuse to police: ‘Boss it’s Carnival’

Port of Spain market vending (file photo)

(Trinidad Newsday) A 19-year-old Laventille man was arrested for robbing a La Romaine vendor on Wednesday afternoon and tried to explain his behaviour by blaming it on Carnival, police said.

Raheem Barton was arrested less than an hour after he robbed vendor Curtis Seepaul of $3,000 while he was walking near the market at around 5.20 pm.

Police said Barton approached Seepaul from behind and told him to hand over his money. Barton prentended he had a gun, pointing his finger into Seepaul’s back, and threatened to shoot.

He took $3,000 in cash and walked away, as Seepaul turned around and saw him.

The vendor went to the Port of Spain Market’s City Police post and made a report.

Cpls John, McShine and PCMichael Fabres drove around east Port of Spain with Seepaul, who pointed out Barton at a shop.

Fabres approached Barton and asked him about the robbery.

Barton replied, “Boss it’s Carnival, I try a little thing.”

He was arrested and charged and appeared before magistrate Nizam Khan in the Port of Spain Magistrates Eleventh Court for robbery, where he pleaded guilty.

While Barton denied blaming the robbery on Carnival, Khan said the season was no excuse for stealing, and highlighted the seriousness of Barton’s crime.

“Citizens and foreigners must be able to walk the streets freely. If this is TT’s national show, and if a tourist or a citizen gets robbed, it will be very bad. This is a prevalent crime in Trinidad, and during this season, a number of things happen.”

Barton told Khan he was between jobs and had a difficult time adjusting. He also said this was the first time he had ever tried stealing and promised he would not do it again.

He was sentenced to 12 months’ hard labour.

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