Concerned about the recent cases of gun violence and the impact they could have on Barbados’ vital tourism industry, a church leader and Government Senator is calling for intensified searches at the island’s ports of entry.
Senator Revered David Durant told Barbados TODAY that even fishing boats should be scrutinized if authorities want to leave no stone unturned in stemming the flow of illegal weapons into the country.
He insisted that a greater level of scrutiny and examination ought to be employed by law enforcement agencies as soon as possible because “we are reaching a critical point.”
“I think we have to protect our ports more. We have to protect our airport and our seaport and also the beaches, because these guns have to be coming in here from somewhere,” he said in an interview this morning.
“Even in barrels we have to look now more diligently. And we have to also look at fishing boats in some instances.”
Referring to a case earlier this week when a Canadian woman was intercepted at the John F Kennedy International Airport, allegedly heading to Barbados with guns and drugs, Durant said: “I am wondering ‘what about others who may have passed without being detected? Could this be one of the ways in which guns are coming into the country?’ There are too many guns on the streets of Barbados.”
He said he was particularly disturbed after recently ministering at the funeral service of two young men, both in their 20s.
Durant said he was also very concerned that the island’s tourism product may be seriously affected by the gun activity.
He cautioned that Barbados’ reputation for being a generally safe country to visit could be in jeopardy.
“Barbados is considered one of the safest tourist destinations in the Caribbean. Tourists boast that they can come to Barbados and go anywhere without someone guiding them. Now we face the possibility of losing that and we do not want to lose the reputation we have because we depend a lot on tourism,” Durant pleaded.
The religious leader also noted that the amount of gunplay was also causing residents in communities across the island to live in fear.
“All of this is creating a lot of concern in the Christian community and we need to look at ways and means to solve it. But first of all we have to go back to the root of the problem which, I think, is the family breakdown,” he said.
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