by Neville Clarke
The local underworld seems to have taken control of the St. Lawrence Gap/Dover Christ Church area.
And several owners of businesses in the district are calling for a greater police presence and better lighting.
These calls came today following the stabbing of a 68 year-old security guard at Carib Blue Apartments at Dover, Christ Church during an attempted robbery last night.
When a team from Barbados TODAY visited the area today, business owners openly voiced their concern at the level of lawlessness being displayed in the St. Lawrence Gap/Dover area.
A young woman who runs the bar at the Carib Blue Apartments complained that the violence had driven away visitors from the bar.
The concerned woman said: “No one is coming up by the Carib Blue Apartments because of the poor lighting in the area. In addition, there is a bushy area that is now being cleared because the first Cavalcade of the Crop-Over season is being held on the Dover pasture tomorrow night. This busy area can provide a hiding place for criminals.”
She reported that there had been several daylight muggings near Luigi’s Italian Restaurant, Dover Woods, Christ Church. The woman noted that Luigi’s was located on a tree-lined section of the street that lacked proper lighting.
A resident of St. Lawrence Gap told Barbados TODAY that recently his girlfriend was followed by a man who appeared intent on robbing her. He also identified an apartment block where a thief put his hand through a window and stole money from a resident’s pocket while he was at home.
He complained too that some unscrupulous vendors on Dover Beach were attempting to sell visitors and locals coconuts at $20 each.
Over at Johnny Cool’s Beach Bar a worker complained that decorative bulbs which cost as much as $35 were being stolen on a regular basis. The worker also complained that customers enjoying refreshments at the bar were being disturbed by men who gambled and used loud abusive language.
Meanwhile, the owner of the bar, who resides in St. Lawrence Gap, said he sat in his patio and saw tourists being constantly harassed. The resident said he witnessed a hustler on the beach attempting to sell illegal drugs to a young visitor, and even observed a visitor being called a racist and struck in her back because she did not purchase a product from the vendor.
“These incidents will eventually destroy the tourist industry,” he warned. “You cannot continue to treat visitors unkindly and then expect them to return to the country.”
Another woman who operates a seaside bar said harassment on the beach was causing businesses to lose money. She pointed out that the situation had deteriorated to the point where pimps are walking up to visitors and offering women to them, while drug dealers were openly identifying the drugs they were selling.
The concerned canteen operator argued that Dover Beach had more hustlers than any other beach on the South Coast.
Reacting to the violent attack on the guard and the increase in robberies in the St. Lawrence/Dover area, community worker, Adrian Donovan said: “We have been experiencing all kinds of problems in the last couple of months. There has been an increase in burglaries, attacks on tourists and lawlessness on the beaches. This latest incident will now show authorities that St. Lawrence Gap and its environs need assistance in many ways.
“Business is down, tourists are scarce and residents are afraid. But we are appealing to those residents who are thinking about taking matters into their own hands to be patient and let the law enforcement agencies address the situation.” [email protected]
by Neville Clarke