Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds is deeply disturbed by the number of violent deaths in Barbados during the first month of the year, warning that it had the potential to impact gravely on the island’s bread and butter tourism industry.
Calling for an end to the violent crimes, most of which have been gun-related, Symmonds at the same time welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Mia Mottley that a concerted effort would be made to curb the violence.
“I am heartened and happy that from the highest level of government – the Prime Minister herself – through to the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Police, everybody is onboard in this matter because it is simply not to be tolerated. It has to be stomped out as ruthlessly as possible,” Symmonds told Barbados TODAY.
Last Friday, Mottley announced that close to 100 soldiers would work alongside the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) and the service of of former commissioner of police Darwin Dottin would be enlisted as Government embarked on a major fight against crime.
With Barbados experiencing another bumper tourist winter season, Symmonds expressed shock at the number of violent incidents that were taking place.
“Whenever we have a shooting incident we compromise the image of the country and do untold potential damage to what we could be achieving financially. It disturbed me deeply that those things were happening while we had 6, 500 English guests in the island,” said Symmonds.
“It is a good thing that you can have that level of occupancy that we had, but the reality is that all of those people were here on the island at the time when that lawlessness was taking place in Barbados,” he said.
Describing the crime situation as problematic, Symmonds said: “I want people to be a lot more conscious and aware of the consequences of that kind of activity and that the foolishness they do hurt innocent people who are working hard trying to get this country back on its feet again. We can’t tolerate that.”