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December 21, 2010
Sharpes man claims he was taken hostage in his truck

Desmond Providence, of Redemption Sharpes, said he had a harrowing experience last Thursday night, when he was kidnapped at gunpoint and taken to Belmont by three masked men.{{more}}

Providence told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday, that his wife wanted to return home early from the New Democratic Party (NDP) rally on Thursday, December 16, so he had taken her to their home, and was about to return to the rally, when he was accosted by the men, wearing masks and surgical gloves, at about 10 p.m.

Providence said that he was just about to leave his yard in his truck, when he spotted a white car that was heavily tinted. He said he stopped to give way to the vehicle.

“I saw a man with a gun coming towards me, then I heard somebody butt on the passenger’s side. I saw him pointing a gun at me also. Then a man came out of the left side of the car, similarly dressed, with a gun in his hand also,” said Providence.

Recalling the frightful incident, Providence said: “The first two men entered the truck from the passenger side. One of them stepped over and went behind the driver’s seat and rest the gun behind my head. The other sat on the floor of the truck between the passenger’s seat and the dashboard, pointing the gun towards me. The man behind said, ‘Drive’.”

Providence said that he was commanded to take the Murray’s Village route out of Kingstown, before travelling all the way to Belmont.

He said shortly after passing the Belmont Government School, he was asked to stop. He said the man sitting behind him opened the door and pulled him out of the truck, while the other drove off with it.

He said as the truck travelled down the road, he heard a loud noise.

Providence said the masked driver came running towards them, while his truck, valued $45, 000, was perched over an embankment.

“He made about six paces, passed us and he turned back, pushed his hand in my pocket and took out $120 that I had,” said Providence. He noted that during that time, the same white Toyota Corolla car that he had seen earlier, came to the scene and the men entered the vehicle and drove off in the Kingstown direction.

He said as he stood at Belmont, frightened and helpless, people returning from the rally saw him and offered assistance.

“I had to sit because my feet didn’t have any strength,” said Providence.

He said the matter was reported to the police, but no one turned up.

A tow truck company was also called in and was able to successfully put the truck back on the road.

Providence said he had to go to lower Belmont to turn the truck around, but after doing so, as he approached the Belmont Hill the truck was unable to climb it.

The distraught man said that he parked the truck, secured it and contacted his son to take him to their home.

But to his amazement, when he returned the following morning with a mechanic, Providence said the truck was nowhere in sight. He said after a search, he saw it almost at the foot of the embankment, wrecked.

He said that he believes that this was a backlash for him campaigning for St. Clair Leacock, the NDP’s successful candidate, who romped home with the Central Kingstown seat.

“They didn’t come here randomly; they came on a mission. They knew where they were going. My truck was used to advocate and promote Mr.Leacock. There are people who had it to say that the truck caused Mr. Leacock to win.

“They came for the truck; they didn’t come for me,” said Providence.

Providence is adamant that the masked men who held him up “went back there and completed the job.”

The Redemption Sharpes resident said that he is saddened that he invested most of his money in the truck and now it’s gone.

But in a new twist to the saga, Brian Clouden, a motorist who was travelling in the Belmont area with his two daughters, refutes Providence’s claim.

Clouden said: “Three of us were in my vehicle [Clouden and his two daughters]. I asked him if he was okay, he said ‘yes’. I asked him if he alone was in the truck, he said ‘yes’. I asked how he managed, he said he fell asleep….You could see the truck like it drove straight into the bank and struck a piece of wall.

“My daughter said to me look the wheel and them still spinning. So I ease down a little bit now and I saw the wheel and them still spinning and when I bend down to peep, I heard the engine was on. So I said to him, but look you have the engine on, turn off the engine, because the rain is still coming and the truck might get over the embankment. So he went to driver’s side, stretched inside and turn off the key,” said Clouden.

Clouden said he advised the Providence to call “Cliffy”, a businessman that operates a tow truck and he responded ‘okay’.

Clouden said the following morning, when he saw the truck over the embankment he was worried, but he learned that Providence was not in the vehicle.