The United States Embassy in Barbados is working with stakeholders in the local tourism industry and the Royal Barbados Police Force to weed out criminal elements who visit our shores.
United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Linda Taglialatela gave stakeholders that assurance yesterday while speaking at the official opening of a seminar dealing with crimes that affect tourism, at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
The diplomat told the gathering that the Embassy would be offering the services of the State Department Diplomatic Security Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the US Secret Service to assist local personnel in ferreting out the criminal element.
“In this age of globalization, it is much easier for criminals around the world to exploit soft targets like the tourism industry for their own personal gains,” Taglialatela cautioned, adding that criminals could use technology to commit crimes without even travelling to Barbados.
The ambassador also pointed out that opportunities for human trafficking can arise when large numbers of people enter or leave the country.
“Showing people what the signs are and how to identify potential victims is the key,” Taglialatela stressed.
Addressing the issue of automatic banking machine scams, the ambassador said they were occurring all over the world.
“It goes back to showing people how to identify what is possible in helping to find preventative measures that can be taken,” she said.
Taglialatela told the delegates that the presentation of false documents had also become a major headache with the use of modern technology.
“I have to tell you that with the Internet out there and all of the computer technology, people are able to generate false documents. People can now hide their true identity with false documents. So, again, we are looking for people who are not coming here to appreciate beautiful Barbados but to actually take advantage of other visitors and residents of the country,” she said.
Meanwhile, in a brief presentation, Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association Rudy Grant expressed similar sentiments, arguing that globalization and the advent of modern technology had created new challenges for the tourism industry.
“We are all aware of some of the benefits of globalization and the technological revolution. But these advances have also created some challenging issues which threaten the sustainability of the very important tourism industry. This is a challenge that does not only confront Barbados, but indeed the world,” Grant said.
The CEO argued that stakeholders in the tourism industry must be prepared for the “new wave of criminal activity which is taking place across the world”, stressing that it could impact on Barbados’ economic growth and development.