Police are on the hunt for two men who reportedly doused a young woman with a flammable liquid and lit her afire at a beach in Tobago on Tuesday night.
The woman, who suffered third degree burns to her face and upper torso, is said to be warded at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, in a critical condition.
Reports are that around 8.50pm on Tuesday, Allena Dial, 19, of Riseland, Carnbee, was at the Kilgwyn beach alone when she was approached by two men who doused her with a substance and then lit her afire.
Dial, a kitchen assistant at Tri Star Restaurant, Crown Point, ran to the nearby Apex Restaurant, at the corner of Store Bay Local Road and Kilgwyn Road. The restaurant is owned by Tobago Organisation of the People political leader Ashworth Jack.
Jack told Newsday he was not at his businessplace when the woman arrived but learnt from workers that she seemed to be in distress.
"She sat on the steps and the supervisor would have seen her and they recognised she was in distress. She was in blood and the staff would have rendered whatever first aid assistance and tried to keep her cool."
Jack said Dial told the workers she had been burnt. They later called the police and the Emergency Health Services.
"The police came fairly quickly from all indications and I commend the police for that. But the emergency ambulance took a little longer to come."
Jack said she was taken to the Scarborough General Hospital but has since been transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Science Complex in Trinidad.
Dial also had a handbag and cellphone, both of which were stolen in the attack.
Jack said Dial did not reveal why she was at the beach alone.
"Regardless of what she was doing there, nobody has the right to injure anybody. Maybe after counselling, the parents could find out why she was there because sometimes we get too hasty up front when our children need us the most."
Jack said he would co-operate with the police to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.
He urged the authorities to instal lights at the beach.
"I again want to impress on the authorities to have the beach lit. It is a very popular beach with couples and people who go there for spiritual stuff but, reportedly, some nefarious activities also take place there."
He added: "I think that for the safety of everyone that beach should be lit. But the fact is that if we want to keep our visitors and citizens safe, there are some things we need to do to ensure the safety of people, especially in a very popular area like this."
Jack acknowledged, though, the police officers patrol the area from time to time.
The TOP leader commended his staff for the manner in which they handled the situation.
"Sometimes, people freeze up when situations like this occur and the fact that the staff would have responded in the way that they did, I think it was a very human thing to do – to make her comfortable, to make sure everything was all right."
Investigations are continuing.