A recent home invasion which left a Canadian visitor paralysed is unlikely to have a negative impact on Barbados “bread and butter” industry.
So says Barbados’ Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Reverend Charles Morris who on Friday dismissed suggestions that stiffer penalties ought to be imposed for crimes committed against tourists.
While at the Combermere School’s Cultural Awareness Day, he told Barbados TODAY that while the incident was unfortunate, crime is not a foreign concept in countries from which tourists originate.
“Anybody anywhere would be concerned about crime but the countries where these people come from have crime as well and on a larger scale than in Barbados.
“They know it, and they are going to come. I don’t think the response will be all of that negative, because they come from societies that have extensive crime as well,” the Reverend told Barbados TODAY.
Ken Elliott, 65, from Calgary was paralyzed after being shot during a home invasion on Feb. 22 when two men, one with a machete and one with a gun, stormed the Christ Church holiday home where he was staying.
Days later, High Commissioner of Canada in Barbados Marie Legault expressed concern that the uptick could be an indication that the country’s spiralling crime situation could be spilling over to tourists.
Since then, the opposition People’s Party for Democracy and Development’s spokesperson for tourism Scott Weatherhead suggested imposing stiffer penalties for crimes against tourists.
But Reverend Morris described such measures as discriminatory.
“I don’t know that that would be correct legally and you may very well be creating one type of Barbados for tourists and then another type of for locals. I don’t think that that would be just and fair,” he argued.
Instead, he suggested that authorities take a “full sociological analysis” of the situation to address problems which have been neglected for years.
“What you are seeing now is a result of something that should have been dealt with a long time ago and if you fail to deal with a problem, you can be sure it will manifest and what we are seeing now is that.
“We have to look into the reasons and the causes of this crime. Sometimes we are dwelling on theories of the past like bad parenting and all of that kind of thing. I don’t know if that is the real issue.
“We have to sit down and study crime and the crimes that are being committed by persons who don’t otherwise have a criminal mind.
“Are they doing it because of perceived economic situation where they want money? Are they created by persons involved in drugs? We now need to sit down and do a full sociological analysis of crime,” the Anglican cleric suggested.
The reverend also praised the efforts of the attorney general’s office for seeking to expedite cases by increasing the number of judges and prosecutors.
Despite some concerns Morris maintained that members of the Barbadian diaspora would be flocking to the country’s shores for the We Gatherin’ Vision 2020 initiative.
“Many people have spoken and they have said yes, there is crime in Barbados, but there is crime in England too. They say look at the stabbings on the streets and so on and Barbados is no worse than anywhere else.
“Many of those persons in England who are born in England call Barbados home and if you call them English they get offended. So I don’t think anything will stop that,” the deputy high commissioner told Barbados TODAY.