A St James-based jet ski operator, whose expletive-laced rant to tourists on a local beach was caught on camera and widely-circulated on social media, is telling his side of the story.
Contending that critics didn’t know the full story, he claimed that before the cameras started rolling, he had been subjected to racially-charged insults from the tourists, who he said were Scottish.
When Barbados TODAY visited the Risk Road, St James community where the jet ski operator, who only identified himself as Twin Man was relaxing, he said his response was provoked.
He said the commotion started when he “kindly” asked the tourists to move from the spot where they were laying, so he could haul his boat out of the water at the Fitts Village beach.
The social media posting which caught the exchange in progress has prompted outrage from the online viewers and has called into question the treatment of tourists by some locals.
Defending his reaction, Twin Man said: “I came to her twice and said ‘excuse me miss, I would like to come through here with the jet ski. I went back to the boat and was looking to come in and she was still there. So I left for a little while and came back and she was still there.
“I asked her once to move and she wouldn’t move. I asked her twice and three times if she could move and she did not move. So when I had to get a little more aggressive in asking her to move, then she moved.”
However he said it was another couple, also tourists who saw the exchange, intervened in an aggressive manner and started to record.
The nearly three-minute video which was taken last Thursday began with Twin Man saying to the person recording: “If you had come any closer to me, I would crack your f*****g head with a big rock,” to which the tourist replied, “no one is going to put their hands on you, because we live in a civilized society.”
The video captured the watersports operator hurling vile, abusive and sexually suggestive language toward one of the female tourists.
The visitors were also heard warning the operator that he would be in serious trouble with local authorities, particularly the police and the ‘tourism board’ after they saw the video, because “all of Barbados” money comes from tourism.
Twin Man however told Barbados TODAY he was surprised to see that the video had been released because the two men had made amends since the incident.
“After all of that, the man walked up to me and said ‘let us talk.’ We spoke for two minutes and the man shook my hand and gave me a hug. I went into my car and sat down and he went into his.”
The man however indicated he was still upset by the way the Scottish tourists treated him. According to him, they used a derogatory and racist word in reference to him saying: “You can’t speak to her like that. You can’t speak to her like that little n****r. Go off the beach and go and sell some drugs or something,” he recalled.
He noted that was why his response, which was also captured on the video, was ‘Yes I sell drugs,’.
A woman is also heard saying, “You need to take the drug money and get some manners and an education.”
Tourism Minister Kerrie Symmonds earlier this week frowned on the man’s actions describing the incident as “a display of incivility that went beyond that which is reasonable or expected”.
Symmonds added that while he expected to hear some people attempting to justify the man’s actions, Barbadians needed to “learn to disagree without being disagreeable.”
While Twin Man has heard and acknowledged the minister’s comments, he contended that watersport operators were often subjected to extremely disrespectful remarks and gestures from tourists.
“This has been over 18 years and I have never gotten into anything on the beach . . . but these types of things happen everyday. You can’t look at a black man and call him . . . [names]. That is disrespect, because you are trying to make a man feel like less than a man,” he said.
“My head was baking and he [the tourist] knew I would’ve gotten upset and misbehaved, so I guess that is why he took out his camera.”
The St James man also told Barbados TODAY that police had asked him to come to the police station to discuss the matter, but he refused after speaking to his attorney.
“They want me to come and help them with their investigations. So now I am staying home, because if the police want to come for me, I don’t want to be embarrassed at the beach while I’m doing my work for people to feel like I’m a criminal.”
He added “The man [tourist] has now gone about his business and the whole of Barbados wants to lock me up.”
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