The apparent slaying of a Rowans, St. George resident and wounding of his wife has left the upscale community in shock and disbelief and the tourism industry mourning the loss of a former stalwart.
The usually quiet neighbourhood of 5th Avenue Rowans Park was rocked by the news of what police described as the “unnatural death” of Cecil Miller, 68, former chairman of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA).
Police officers, responding to a call to the area around 5 p.m. yesterday, discovered Miller’s body bearing multiple stab wounds.
Police also said Miller’s wife, Syberton, 63, was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in a semi-conscious state.
Shocked neighbours told Barbados TODAY that “nothing close to this” has ever occurred in the upper middle-class neighbourhood. One resident, who wished only to be referred to as Jeffrey, described the couple as quiet individuals, who mostly kept to themselves.
“I have lived here for about nine years and I think I only met them once and they seem like really nice people but that’s all I can really say. This is a neighbourhood where most persons keep to themselves and go about their business so it was really shocking to hear what happened. The most that has ever happened in the past is some person breaking into a car to take some loose change but nothing like this,” said Jeffrey.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Grant Morris, a Barbadian residing in Canada but home on vacation, who was saddened but also left fearful by the incident.
“The question is why did it happen? It is really sad and my heart goes out to the family. It is really scary that this happened,” he said.
Ken Hewitt, who acted as Governor General last month when Dame Sandra Mason was out of the island for three weeks, said “like any human being I feel for the family in this tragedy”.
As family and friends gathered at the Miller home, they declined to speak to a Barbados TODAY team.
Miller was chairman of the BTPA from 2014 until May 2018 and news of his death has saddened key tourism industry figures. Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds described the former BTPA chairman as a “man well respected in the tourism circles.
“As a development partner and as an intellectual, he would have been one of the people who was the brainchild of stressing the importance of tourism product development in Barbados. This country that focuses heavily on destination marketing but one of things [Miller] stands out for is an understanding of the fact that as we build out a variety of aspects of the tourism sector, we broaden the base of stakeholders,” said Symmonds.
“In that regard he helped to redirect some of the thinking of people connected to tourism and certainly those connected to tourism policy. It is a school of thought to which I personally subscribe and I am eternally grateful for the work that he would have done,” the minister said. [email protected]