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OUR CARIBBEAN: At a time of advisories on terrorism

Rickey Singh

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FOR ALL the woes and anxieties in various states of the Caribbean Community over crime, it is quite encouraging to be able to say that our region remains a comparatively safe and attractive place for visitors and its inhabitants against terrorists.
This observation is made against the current fear spreading across Europe of terrorist strikes by al Qaeda operatives and, specifically, the warnings to tourists to be on guard as they enjoy themselves at popular holiday resorts, shopping and entertainment centres.
Barbados, as one of the leading tourist resorts in the Greater Caribbean, would undoubtedly be monitoring the unfolding alerts relating to the risk and uneasiness facing Europe and seek how best to market this country as an enduring tourist destination.
After an alert from the United States this past Tuesday for American tourists visiting Britain and other European nations to be watchful against suspected attacks from al Qaeda terrorists, France followed on Wednesday with its own warnings to its citizens travelling to Britain.  
If America, Britain and France, among the richest and most powerful nations are not really living on the edge over feared terrorist attacks, then the alerts being sent out do convey this unsettling message, one that should not be ignored either by Caribbean nationals travelling to American and European capitals on business or holiday.
USA Today has noted that the initial alert from Washington, which is in place until January 31 next year, and quite general, named no countries and was “unusual in focusing on an entire continent [Europe]”.
Following Tuesday’s terrorism alert by the United States, CNN was reporting that France quickly went on the offensive in warning its nationals travelling to Britain that British authorites believe a terrorist attack was “highly likely”.
Without seeking to exploit the fears of potential American and European tourists, it seems quite practical and reasonable for famous Caribbean destinations, like Barbados, Jamaica and The Bahamas, to fashion current marketing strategies to better appeal to those who may wish to escape the prevailing tension in Europe to enjoy their vacation.
Meanwhile, local anxieties of a different nature continue to increase among Barbadians with every new report on Prime Minister David Thompson’s return to New York for further medical attention for his very serious ailment. His latest departure took place this past Tuesday.
The decision-makers of his governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP), and those in Government in particular are also on the alert to avoid any false political move that could affect the Government’s ability to steer the country through this period of economic and political uncertainties.
For sure, acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Christopher Sinckler as newly-appointed Minister of Finance (first signalled in this column on September 24), are quite aware of the need to keep out of rough, threatening political waters to ensure that the “SS DL”  succeeds in at least completing its first five-year journey.