The three tourists at the centre of an ugly verbal exchange involving a west coast jet ski operator are vehemently refuting his version of the events, some of which was recently caught on camera as they unfolded at a Fitts Village, St James beach.
In fact, following threats of violence, the Scottish couple involved in the matter have confirmed that they have cancelled the remaining month of their vacation trip and have gone home.
After the release of a Barbados TODAY article featuring jet ski operator Twin Man, seen on a viral social media video hurling insults at an unidentified group of tourists, the tourists, who are still on the island have come forward to most passionately challenge the allegation that they levelled racially-charged, verbal insults at Twin Man.
Twin Man last Friday told Barbados TODAY that he had asked a young female tourist to allow him to safely land his jet ski on the shore, but was repeatedly ignored. However, the young woman, a Belgian national, this weekend said she interpreted his gesture as an invitation for her to ride his jet ski, which she politely declined as she was reading a book. It was at that point, she said the situation went swiftly downhill.
“He [Twin Man] goes away, comes back, does a u-turn in the sea and comes at full speed in the sand towards me splashing all of my stuff. He starts insulting me, calling me . . . and all sorts of words, so I decide to ignore him. I can see that he is clearly upset, so I said to myself I would ignore this guy to avoid starting an argument.
“I stand up, and start dusting my towels and my belongings and everything and then the more I refuse to reply to his insults, the more he insults me,” she said, while acknowledging that the whole incident may have resulted from poor communication, eventually leading to a misunderstanding.
“I thought he was asking me if I wanted a jet ski ride, but picture this. He is on the sea in his jet ski, and there’s all the noise going on around him. Had I known or understood or heard that he wanted me to move, I would have moved, but he didn’t make himself clear,” she added.
That, she said was when the Scottish couple intervened and said: “Hey, that’s not how you speak to a young lady.”
This, according to their account, further enraged the “guy” who started to involve the issue of race, class and nationality.
At that point, she said the man started picking up stones to throw at the tourists, which prompted them to start filming.
“What you’ve seen on camera is actually the soft part of what happened and then we just carried on arguing and he started bringing up racial issues and slavery and all kinds of things that were completely unnecessary. I felt extremely threatened because I was by myself,” she said, adding that she was very grateful for the intervention by the Scottish couple.
Now the Belgian woman, who only has a few more days left on the island is determined to stay away from certain sections of St James for fear of being targeted.
The three tourists all said they reported the matter to the Holetown police station, however the Scottish couple claims they were receiving threats from locals.
“I think this is unfair because these guys are innocent, they just defended me, because I was being attacked by a dangerous man and now they’re receiving threats. So all I want to do is set the record straight and let Barbadians know what happened that day.
“I have been on the island long enough to be able to listen and understand people and have civil exchanges with locals.
“I am on a beach reading a book by a black lady who is talking about the first black president of the United States, waiting for my black Bajan boyfriend to come pick me up off the beach, and we are being portrayed as racists… the “n” word would never come out of my mouth,” she said.
The Belgian woman’s account of the story was verified by the Scottish couple in an email, in which they said that they had intervened, because they had “never seen a woman being treated in that manner”.
The couple added: “We received verbal threats from a passing car regarding the outright lies that were published. Not once, but twice; once on Holders Hill the other passing Payne’s Bay. This is inexcusable.
“We were left feeling unsafe in Barbados due to the lies of the jet ski guy’s articles that were published in news outlets. We cut our trip to Barbados short by over 1 month due to the racial hate, abuse and threats directed to us.
“We are peaceful people and will not jeopardize our safety for some winter sunshine. Such a shame.”
They further added that they were not the ones responsible for the video’s wide circulation, but said that after the cameras stopped rolling, they came to a peaceful agreement with Twin Man.
“After the video ends we de-escalated the situation by the roadside where we were waiting for the bus right next to the jet ski man’s car. The calm conversation went along the lines of, ‘are you a human being?’ ‘Yes,’ was the reply of the jet ski guy. We then asked him ‘are we human beings?’ ‘Yes, was his reply.’ We then asked ‘is the young lady a human being?’ Yes was his reply . . . . We said we are all the same in this world, race, colour, creed are irrelevant to us and everyone is equal. To which he agreed,” said the Scottish couple.
Efforts to get an update on the Royal Barbados Police Force’s involvement in the matter have been unsuccessful. firstname.lastname@example.org