The father of a 22-year-old woman who was reportedly kidnapped on Friday is pleading with her abductors to allow him to speak to his daughter as proof of life.
The victim Andrea Bharatt was last seen in a taxi she got into at the Cleaver Road/Arima Old Road taxi stand at King Street, Arima at 5.50 pm on Friday.
Anti-Kidnapping Unit officers reported that Bharatt and a co-worker got into a taxi on King Street. The co-worker dropped off at her home in Cleaver Heights and Bharatt was expected to arrive at her home on Arima Old Road, Arima shortly after.
When Bharatt did not arrive, her father called her cellphone repeatedly but got no answer.
In an interview with Sunday Newsday on Saturday, Randolph Bharatt said around 7.30 pm a man answered his daughter's phone and asked for money.
"I called the phone and when the guy answer it I asked him very polite, I want to be polite, because sometimes I do talk rough, I asked him, 'Sir, what are you doing with my daughter’s phone?'
"And that was a big mistake I make because he say, 'I know your daughter working in the credit union and I want money'."
Bharatt said he ended the call and dialled his daughter's number again.
"I wanted to apologise to the guy. Before I start to say anything he said, 'you feel you is a bad man? You is a killer? I am the killer'," he recalled, and the man threatened to harm his daughter.
Bharatt said he immediately ended the call and went to the Arima Police Station to make a report.
He said during the first call the abductor claimed that Andrea worked at a credit union but his daughter actually works as a clerk at the Arima Magistrates' Court.
“I trust in God,” Bharatt said when asked about his thoughts on his daughter’s abduction.
Pausing for a second to stop himself from crying, he added: “I am just hoping for the best and that she comes home safe and that they find her today.”
Bharatt said he was told by police not to contact the kidnappers again and up to 5 pm on Saturday, he did not. He said after hanging up on them the first time he realised he made a mistake and called again.
His message to the abductors is simple: “I want to hear her voice, at least.”
“I would like to apologise for the way I react when the guy answered her phone, I hope and pray they let her go, they don’t harm her, and she reaches home safe.”
During the interview, Bharatt attempted to mask his pain with laughter as he spoke about his daughter whom he usually called by her nickname "Pig".
Security camera footage from the home of Bharatt's co-worker and neighbouring buildings were viewed by the police. The footage showed Bharatt's friend getting out of the taxi, a white Nissan Versa, but the licence plate was not visible. Police later learnt that the license plate registered to a taxi, was fake.
Police were told the driver was a slim, dark-skinned man of African descent. The front seat passenger a dark-skinned, medium-build man of African descent.
Bharatt recalled “getting a vibes” and sat waiting for his daughter for two hours outside their home on Friday.
At 6 pm he found it strange she did not return home and went inside and began calling her two cell numbers.
“I never thought this would happen. I did warn her about travelling in P cars and to be safe when travelling. It’s not until it reach home, to your door, you truly realise how hard it is out here. It was an H car, not even a PH taxi, so no one is even looking for anything.”
Bharatt said his daughter is not a limer and he usually begs her to leave the house at times.
“I don’t go outside and lime, nothing to interest me there. This is the first time in 20 years I’ve spent any such length of time away, I spent whole night in the Arima Police Station. People does talk about the police but from jump they was on it.”
Bharatt's disappearance is the first reported incident of this nature since the abduction and murder of teenager Ashanti Riley.
The San Juan 18-year-old was picked up by a PH taxi near her home, on November 29, 2020, and her decomposing body was found on December 4. A 32-year-old PH driver, Luciano Quash, is charged with her murder.
Sunday Newsday visited the taxi stand and spoke with a vendor who, on hearing of the kidnapping began to curse saying he was fed up of “these sick men.”
“It have plenty P cars because everybody want a dollar you don’t know who is who.”
Told that the vehicle carried an H plate, the man who identified himself only as “Asher” said: “Nobody safe out here. If we (vendors) see that man we might know if his is a good man or not. We does be the eyes on the road but the police always chasing we. The cameras can’t help is we could say that man from here or he from there, you know.”
The fruit and vegetable vendor, who was seen at the corner of King Street and Eastern Main Road, said the men who are attacking women are not following God but the devil.
“I is a Rasta and I believe in God. If you don’t seek God is the devil you going and seek. Is not God that does do these kinda things is the devil. These men out here following Satan I rather follow God.”
He added that while he is chased daily for “thiefing a chance” to sell on the spot, he prefers that than stealing.