Crime against visitors are up by almost 50 per cent for the year.
Compared to the 54 offences reported in 2012 for the period between January to March, this year so far there were 105 reported offences: 46 in the Bridgetown division, 31 in the Northern and in the Southern Division 28.
This information was revealed this afternoon as members of the Royal Barbados Police Force met with members of the tourism fraternity at the Divi Southwinds Resort in St. Lawrence, Christ Church to speak, particularly, on the crime situation in the Southern Division.
Officer in charge of that Division, Senior Superintendent Eucklyn Thompson, said the force was committed to a “strategic operational plan” within the tourism belt geared at protecting visitors from harassment, assault, theft and robbery. And furthermore he said the Southern Division “stands ready to play [their] role urging the hoteliers to join with the force to help the situation.
Despite that being said, the frustration of the situation could be heard in the voices of some of the hoteliers who spoke.
One was of the opinion that the police’s strategy needed to be changed and he believed that there was a disconnect with what the top officials were saying and what their officer on the ground reported was actually happening.
He argued the tourism industry was Barbados’ main money earner and noted therefore more importance should be shown and they should not†then send their most junior officers to deal with issues.
Gordon Seale of Bougainvillea Beach Resort also added that something needed to be done urgently to solve the problem. He said that people came to the island to enjoy its total beauty and if crime against them continued they would decide never to return and instead chose another location.
“What we need to do is preventative to stop these things from happening because if we don’t stop it, we will be in real trouble and it will affect you, your salary, your children, your grandchildren. There is nothing else presenting itself† as a major opportunity other than tourism, whether we like it or not, there is no viable alternative. Whatever we have to do to work and co-operate with the police as the BHTA we have to do.
“We all need to work together, if you all love your children. For the survival of Barbados. Barbados is in real trouble financially… and if we let tourism get away… we get a lot of unemployment then you will see an increase in crime,” he said.
The tourism practitioners, who represented restaurants and hotels on the south of the island complaints included: the continued harassment of their guests to buy craft, drugs and sex as well as robbery of tourists and staff. (KC)