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Barbados’ reputation at risk


GERALYN EDWARD

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BARBADOS’ reputation as a safe tourist destination is being compromised, says the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
And last Friday night’s robbery and arson in Tudor Street, Bridgetown, that killed six young women has been described by BCCI president Anthony Armstrong as a wake-up call.
“One of the key factors for the tourism industry in Barbados is safety,” he said yesterday.
“We pride ourselves on being a safe society and we sell this idea to our visitors. While one incident, however terrible, does not destroy this state, there are other worrying signs that we are not as safe a country as we once were. We cannot afford to be complacent.”
The businessman said that while people were aware that gruesome killings happened in other countries, most Barbadians “would have felt that it couldn’t happen here. Sadly, we now know that it can”.
 Armstrong said the BCCI had started efforts to revive Bridgetown as a centre for cultural, sporting, culinary and commercial activities during the day and at night.
However, safety and cleanliness of The City were identified as critical issues that required urgent attention, if the plan to have increased activity in Bridgetown were to succeed.
Noting that the BCCI’s Revitalisation of Bridgetown Project, started two years ago, had been a slow process, Armstrong said all stakeholders had to be “aligned” on the issue.
He said it continued to push the process, and the first two projects were increased street lighting and the installation of closed-circuit television cameras on several streets.
However, Armstrong noted that several “procedures” had to be followed before the CCTVs could be installed.
“On the issue of lighting, we are confident that funds can be accessed to improve this and we will be working closely with the relevant Government departments to ensure that this happens in a short time frame.”
Armstrong also joined the call for the urgent implementation of a building code and urged businesses to review their emergency arrangements.

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