The US Embassy’s decision to issue an advisory urging citizens against visiting certain areas in Barbados has come as no surprise to President of the Democratic Labor Party, Verla Depeiza, especially given the country’s crime situation.
However the party leader is extremely concerned about Attorney General, Dale Marshall’s seemingly flippant dismissal of the level 1 advisory. She argued that the US-government’s stance was but another indication that government was failing miserably on the issue of crime.
“There’s really not that much to say except that it was long in coming. The rate at which our murders have been happening, the other types of violent crime, it was no shock except how long it took.
“The US Embassy very clearly through its staff here keeps abreast of what is happening in Barbados.
“I don’t think anybody glories in Barbados’ name being smirched but we have to address our realities and find social and economic fixes and implement them as a matter of urgency,” said Depeiza.
The March 5, 2019 advisory issued on the US Bureau of Consular Affairs website urged its citizens not to visit Crab Hill, Ivy, Nelson Street, Wellington Street or Maxwell Coast Road. A local entertainment establishment was also listed on the areas that should be avoided. The notice went onto advise “increased caution” for the St Michael areas of Black Rock, Deacons, Carrington Village, Greenfields, New Orleans and the Pine. Barbados TODAY contacted the US Embassy in Wildey to clarify the rationale for the advisory and the singling out of the above-mentioned areas. Embassy officials promised to respond to queries by tomorrow.
In response, Attorney General, Dale Marshall dismissed the advisory as much ado about nothing, arguing, “We are becoming alarmed somewhat unnecessarily in this matter.”
The DLP’s President did not take Marshall’s statements lightly.
“I found that to be a very shocking and most alarming statement. Any time Barbados is being painted in a negative light on the international scene, it is alarming, especially if our primary foreign exchange earner is tourism.
“Certainly once the US has issued that advisory, the tourists will take note,” said Depeiza, who added that the fact that Maxwell Coast Road was included in the embassy’s advisory was particularly concerning, because “it’s in the heart of the tourist belt.”
While she could not predict the impact of the recent advisory on the country’s tourism, Depeiza anticipated it would not have extremely damaging effects in the short term.
“I don’t see Barbados as a last minute destination for tourists, it is usually a planned destination, so you will likely find that persons already have their plans made.
“It is their behaviors here which might change, so perhaps the all inclusive hotels might decide simply to stay in their hotels and not move, which would be a shame,” said Depeiza.