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Search stepped up

by Barbados Today
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From left, Attorney General Dale Marshall, Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds during today’s press conference.

Over the next 72 hours, emergency personnel in Barbados with assistance from the United States of America will intensify its search for two American visitors who have been missing at sea since Monday.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley made the declaration this afternoon as she gave her assurance that everything within the country’s power was being done to locate 25-year-old Magdalena Devil and Oscar Suarez, 32, who vanished without a trace while jet skiing at Holetown, St James three days ago.

Mottley said even though search and rescue operations were usually carried out over a 72-hour period, she had instructed those operations to continue for a further three days.

The Prime Minister, who returned home today from an eight-day trip, said she had already been briefed on the incident by the Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, the Coast Guard, the Acting Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General.

From left, Attorney General Dale Marshall, Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds during today’s press conference.

From left, Attorney General Dale Marshall, Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds during today’s press conference.

“Let me say that on behalf of the Government of Barbados to the families who are here, how deeply sorry I am to hear that your relatives are missing and I want to give you the assurance that the Government of Barbados will do all that is humanly possible for you to try to find your relatives.

“The police and the Coast Guard and the Regional Security System (RSS) have already been on the job since Monday evening and in spite of the fact that these searches normally will last 72 hours, I’ve given the instructions for us to go for another 72 hours because we need to literally ensure that we have exhausted every possible opportunity with respect to finding the relatives,” Mottley stated.

“I can’t imagine what they are going through now, but please note that the prayers, as well as the diligent efforts of the Government of Barbados and all of our law enforcement arms, as well as the regional ones, will be continuing to work in earnest to find them. I’m also told by the Attorney General that the American government has been approached with respect to additional support [in] air surveillance.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds who was also present at the briefing told members of the media he did not believe the incident would tarnish Barbados’ reputation as a preferred tourist destination.

Noting that accidents occurred from time to time, he said it was especially important for Barbados to be on top of the situation.

“Not the simple disappearance of them. I don’t think the mere disappearance of the tourists will have a negative impact.

“I think the issue really is how we manage the situation and how we project to the world that we are managing the situation and that is why it was a very important thing to return today, to demonstrate to all of the press who are on island, as I understand it, that there is someone taking charge and that the Government is very conscious of the situation and doing all within its power to rectify, if possible, the circumstances,” Symmonds said.

The two visitors went missing at sea Monday afternoon after renting a jet ski for a half-hour ride.
randybennett@barbadostoday.bb

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