With Barbados still dealing with the negative publicity resulting from the shooting of a Canadian tourist, the Opposition People’s Party for Democracy and Development (PdP) is suggesting that Government should consider increasing the penalties for attacks against visitors.
This morning, the PdP’s spokesperson on tourism Scott Weatherhead contended that a crime against a tourist was a crime against this tourism-dependent nation, and therefore ought to be penalized more severely.
“I think, potentially, one of the things that they can consider doing is to increase the penalties for anyone committing crimes against visitors. You have to make people understand that it is one thing to rob a Barbadian, which is bad enough, but if you commit a crime against a visitor it has a wider impact on more than one family. It impacts all of us because that is how we feed ourselves, that’s where our income comes from,” said Weatherhead, who was responding to a question from Barbados TODAY during a press briefing on the Estimates which is being debated this week.
He told journalists gathered at the Office of the Opposition at its temporary Worthing, Christ Church location: “The penalties could be increased to make someone think twice. If you are going to rob somebody, make sure it is not a visitor because that has a much wider impact for everybody, including the person who is committing the crime. When you commit a crime on another Barbadian, it is between you and that person but a crime against a visitor is a crime against yourself.”
The Opposition spokesman contended that Barbados’ crime situation is now out of hand and suggested that measures taken by the Mia Mottley-led administration thus far were the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a sore.
“Crime is out of control and no amount of pumping money into the police force or increasing the number of police officers is going to solve it. The problem is one of family and the households and the mentalities within them. Unless we really start to address our morals in our homes and how we raise our children, we are not going to change the future for crime in Barbados,” said Weatherhead, who also blamed the “lagging economy” for the country’s crime problem.
On Wednesday, High Commissioner of Canada in Barbados Marie Legault expressed concern that the shooting of 65 year-old Kenneth Elliot last weekend could be a sign that the recent uptick in local gun violence could be spilling over to visitors to the island. Elliot has reportedly been paralyzed as a result of the shooting.
Legault told Barbados TODAY 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 being taken,” she said.
According to reports, Elliot had chosen Barbados as the venue for a family reunion. His wife, Linda Brooks, said they had been saving for the vacation for some time.