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Crime could hurt Barbados’ image, says readers

Carol Martindale

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Some Barbadians and tourists are concerned that this country’s reputation as a top destination is being threatened by some of the recent crimes committed against visitors.
There are some who believe it will turn off those who planned trips to this country, while others believe that while these crimes will have little impact on local tourism, more need to be done to stem this activity.
The most recent incident occurred Sunday when two British tourists were shot in Hinck’s Street, St Michael. Police yesterday held two for the shooting of the tourists Philip and Ann Prior, 72-years-old and 59-years-old respectively.
This is what some online readers had to say:
Kendra Coupland: “As a Canadian it is scary and disappointing to hear tourists are being targeted. Makes me want to vacation in St Lucia.”
Michelle Sewell: “Of course this news will reach the UK. I’m in the UK and reading about this. Soon enough tourists will not want to visit Barbados or if they do, they will want to stay in a secure hotel.”
Diane Eves: “When I was there in January there were shootings too. I love the island but definitely having second thoughts about coming back this year.”
Matthew Moise: “Name tourist destination that has never been affected by crime. Barbados, the Grenadines, Antigua, St Lucia, Bonnaire, Turks and Caicos. The thing is what we do after and how that will make the difference.”
Helen Snape: “There is crime the world over but most countries don’t rely on tourism as their main income. Bajans can’t keep shrugging their shoulders and accepting things. I love Barbados, I lived there for years my husband who is Bajan. If there are no jobs because the tourists aren’t coming the crime rate will get worse. …”
Sarah Pomeranz Layne: “Crime is everywhere. Two tourists shot out of 250 000 people on the island is a very small percentage in the grand scheme of things. (Consider what may have taken place over the weekend in NYC or London). However, we can’t afford for any of this to keep taking place. Remove the guns, lower taxes, stop overcharging for food and needed goods. Maybe we will get back to the ability to live rather than to survive.”
Sue Bradshaw Chislett: “To those that say it happens in other parts of the world and want to shrug this off with a “so what we are no different” attitude that mindset is sending the message that you think this is okay. It is not okay and everyone should be thinking how are we going to send a message that we will not stand by and watch our island go to hell in a hand basket because we depend on those tourist dollars to keep our economy going….I want to ask one question here, what percentage of Barbadians are enployed by the tourist industry?”
Antoine Jacques: “All some people are ready to see is doom and gloom. I prefer to look on the brighter side no matter how dark the subject matter. Barbados is not going to fall into a sea of chaos because of those of you who like to push panic buttons and shout the ship is sinking. Any suggestions to control crime against tourist? Here is one lobby, the RBPF to patrol the city properly. Barbados police force does not man our city sufficiently enough. Sunday is still a closed shopping day in Barbados despite it being lawful to open stores. I would bet as Bridgetown was not open there was not a police in sight for over a mile or two. It is this mindset that makes criminals feel they are free to roam. I rather address the police’s force deployment of men for our city’s protection and for all those within it so as to lessen to a very small fraction the chance of tourist or locals being attacked in the city. Lobby the political representative for the city for a better lit city. Bridgetown and its environs are too dark at night.”
Jadah Carroll: “I have been coming to Barbados for the last 17 years, every year. I have dear friends and family in Barbados. I always find it like home – warm, friendly and absolutely beautiful. I live in NYC, and I know that crime exists. I keep my eyes and ears open, and the hotels that I have stayed at also keep their eyes and ears open. I have always felt safe here. I will be back.”
Julia Francis: “From a tourist’s point of view, this is off-putting news. It was just last night that I was reading about the Canadian women who was beaten and robbed on Long Beach and died a few days later and now this? Barbados depends on tourism and the government can’t afford to sweep these murders under the carpet. Something needs to be done as soon as possible. Just one story like this may put off hundreds of potential tourists thinking of visiting the island. ..Barbados has smaller intimate, (overpriced) hotels and rely on tourists to leave the hotel and explore island life. If the crime rate in Barbados gets out of hand and tourists don’t feel safe to explore island life anymore, what will be the point of us coming? “