A man’s torrent of abuse in which two tourists were threatened with violence – captured in a video that has gone viral – has been strongly condemned by Minister of
Tourism Kerrie Symmonds as an act of “unreasonable incivility”.
The incident comes halfway through the make-or-break winter season for the bread-and-butter industry.
During an irate rant, the man, so far unidentified, threatens to hit one of the tourists with a rock.
He is also heard telling the tourists that he sells drugs and that he does not care about the Government.
Speaking on the sidelines of the official launch of a project to renovate the country’s lone airport financed by the Caribbean Development Bank, Symmonds said he was not aware of all of the details which led to the incident. But he stressed that under no circumstances should the incident have spiralled out of control.
Symmonds told reporters: “I am appalled at the fact that something could escalate to that level in circumstances where I am sure if the individual on camera had it all to do over, he would on hindsight want to do it a lot differently.
“The most polite word that I can use about that video is that it was very unsettling. At a personal level for me it is deeply distressing that some folks are not getting the message.
“I believe that I would hear that there are extenuating circumstances and I probably will be told that there are justifications which can be advanced, but I believe that what we are dealing with is a situation that goes beyond just how you treat a tourist. This strikes at the heart of how we as Barbadians treat ourselves and how we interact with each other. ”
Describing the man’s actions as a display of “incivility that went beyond that which is reasonable or expected”, the Minister said it was another sign of the declining morals in society – a situation which had now become too familiar.
Symmonds said: “If the snocone vendor puts the wrong colour syrup in a snocone he is likely to be greeted with a similar type of torrent of abuse, or if the bread vendor has a dispute with his client that too will happen.
“It goes right up the scale. I have heard of these types of displays between lawyer and client and doctor and patient and the problem in Barbados is that we have to learn to disagree without being disagreeable in the process. I think that is really where the process begins.”