Barbados’ challenged tourism sector needs additional products and other improvements to make it more attractive to visitors, but it is “terrorism” in the form of current crime and violence that is threatening to “hijack” the island’s main money earner.
Government Senator Dr. David Durant voiced his fear today as he contributed to the Estimates Debate in the Senate, referring to the recent shooting of two British tourists, and incidents where two of his pastor friends wearing gold jewellery were attacked.
The Democratic Labour Party spokesman said at the time when tourism was not doing as well as it usually did in light of the global economic downturn, it was important to ensure that the sector was not sabotaged by criminal acts.
“I am concerned with recently the negative publicity that our country has been getting, especially as it relates to the shooting of two British tourists… That is not good publicity for us and we have to do all within our power to really help curb the crime and the violence in our land,” he said.
“I know of two pastor friends of mine who were attacked, one the chain broke but … the other one the chain was snatched right off and the person got away with it. But then when they carry these things and they sell them they are melted maybe immediately so you can never recover your wonderful piece of jewellery.
“And also I am alarmed at … some businesses that may be allowing people to come in with these articles and then take up brand name items in exchange… I know there may not be many that are doing this, but if there are one or two it’s too much. We need to really eradicate this, because they must not be allowed to come and snatch somebody’s piece of jewellery and then be allowed to go and walk out with brand name shoes or pants or shirts or something of that nature,” he added.
Durant said Barbados could not afford to be “hijacked by terrorism in the form of the cash for gold situation that we were warned about recently, where some hoteliers (are) even thinking of putting a sign in their corridors to warn the guests not to wear things out on the road”.
“We are a tourist destination and tourism is our main income earner at this moment and we need to keep that product guarded. And I think all of us must take on a responsibility because we are our brother’s keeper, … and our families are here. When we are gone our grandchildren will be living in this nation and we need to make sure that we leave a good path, a good foundation for them,” he stated.
“So we need to denounce crime and violence and all other atrocities that will negatively impact this island and only bring it into deprivation.” The cleric also said that with the electioneering over and the DLP reelected it was important for all political functionaries to work together for the good of the country.
“It will be a great gift to this island, now that all the electioneering is over, … if we can come to a place where we will see a transformation of our political culture, transcending partisan barriers to see our two parties come together … to cooperate for a better, more developed, more progressive and more prosperous Barbados,” he said.
“If this level of maturity can really just eclipse this hallowed place, both here and the other place, I think our Barbados will be a preferred place to live, to do business, to work and will be much more prosperous, I am sure.
“It is my conviction that every Barbadian should take personal responsibility for increased productivity in this season. With all that is happening around the world, the global crisis, economically, politically, governments being toppled, the sense of insecurity, … high cost of living, high levels of unemployment all over, … I think each of us has a responsibility … to look to increase productivity. (SC)