The recent shooting of a Canadian visitor in Barbados is being monitored closely by the High Commissioner of Canada in Barbados Marie Legault who expressed concern that this could be a sign that the recent uptick in local gun violence could be spilling over to visitors to the island
She told Barbados TODAY this morning that if incidents of this nature were to increase, steps would be taken by Canada to protect its citizens.
“Of course it is a concern for our office. We are following the situation very closely and of course if we were to see an increase we would have to first have discussions with the Government of Barbados and then decide what we are going to do to ensure that our citizens are safe. In this case we are not taking any measures at the moment apart from making sure that our citizens are okay and communicating with the Barbados Government to understand what measures are been taken,” said Legault.
The Canadian diplomat revealed that she has been in touch with the family of the victim, who has since been airlifted to the United States where he is still in serious condition. She noted that throughout the ordeal, the Government of Barbados has been “extremely helpful” and has shown the same measure of concern.
“We are extremely concerned and all I can say is that what helps in this is knowing that the Government of Barbados is also extremely concerned. We have been working together to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. We are looking very closely at what happened to our Canadian citizen and we are taking measures to support him. He was evacuated to the States right away to ensure that he got the medical help that he needed,” said Legault.
The High Commissioner added, “What is heartening to us is that members of the Government of Barbados were at the hospital with him making sure that everything was in place to have the proper support that he needed. We know the Government of Barbados is taking this very seriously, so we are working together to ensure that the threat of these aggressions is removed.”
Also speaking to Barbados TODAY on the matter was Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Jerome Walcott who condemned the attack while acknowledging that Barbados had some work to do in repairing the confidence of Canadian visitors.
“The incident is most regrettable, and we have expressed our empathy to the family. You spend years building your tourism product and things like this can cause severe destruction to the entire process. We have to now rebuild the confidence of Canadian visitors and with social media it is now global. People will begin to wonder about the safety of Barbados,” said Walcott, making it clear that attacks on tourists are rare.
According to reports, the victim, Kenneth Elliot, 65, had chosen Barbados as the venue for a family reunion. His wife Linda Brooks revealed that they had been saving for this vacation for some time.
“It was supposed to be a family reunion, for Ken with his family. His two brothers and a sister were going to fly down on Friday of this week, so that all the siblings would be together because all his siblings live in Ontario, so they don’t get to see each other very often. He retired approximately a year and a half ago.
“He was a foreman for fleet services at the City of Calgary. He worked for the city for 36 years. We’ve been saving our money for years to be able to travel, do and see things,” said Brooks, who described her husband as a man who could do anything he put his mind to.
His long-time friend Landon Zabloski also revealed that he has started a GoFundMe page to assist with the family’s medical expenses.
“This morning after talking to some of the other guys that I work with, we started a GoFundMe page for Ken’s family, and we’re trying to raise funds just to help with the recovery. We don’t know what it’s going to look like, we don’t know what kind of costs are going to incur, but definitely they’re going to need support of the friends and family,” he said.