Beware of new threats
A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL is warning tourism officials to be vigilant in the face of the evolving nature of threats facing the island, such as ATM fraud.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner made this observation today, while addressing stakeholders attending the Ministry’s Ninth Annual Multi-Hazard Disaster Management Symposium at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
She made reference to the case involving two Bulgarian nationals last year, who were charged for stealing a substantial sum of money from ATMs, and pointed out that this was “one of the changing faces of threats which we face”.
To highlight the seriousness of the situation, Senator Sandiford-Garner quoted from a May 16, 2013, nationnews.com report by Marketing and Deployment Self-Service Manager of the company NCR, Ricardo Saenz, who said that global trends suggested that fraud was on the increase, especially in tourist destinations.
She added that though Mr Saenz acknowledged the work that some of the islands were doing, he however cautioned that more effort needed to be taken to “really be on the look-out because lately, fraud has been moving to tourist locations.”
Senator Sandiford-Garner also cited statistics from another article which stated that of the 90 000 American tourists in Brazil for the World Cup, 0.5 per cent had been hit by ATM fraud.
“When we speak of hazards and disasters, our discussion typically surrounds natural hazards such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis or a man-made hazard such as terrorism. This is understandable as the September 11th terrorist attack on the Twin Towers has made terrorism an ever present threat and hurricanes are a seasonal threat.
“However, without in any way diminishing the importance of putting systems in place to respond to these types of threats, let us be mindful of the evolving nature of the threats facing us and more so, as a tourism destination,” she added.
Sandiford-Garner mentioned the vulnerability of the island to health threats, such as chikungunya disease.
“Efforts at a regional level to address health-related threats have been ongoing. Earlier iterations of these efforts were advanced through the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, Caribbean Environmental Health Institute, Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute, Caribbean Health Research Centre and the Caribbean Research and Drug Treatment Laboratory. Today, the work of these five CARICOM regional health institutions has been merged into on entity called the Caribbean Public Health Agency,” the Parliamentary Secretary disclosed.
Sandiford-Garner urged all stakeholders to work together as they sought to build a resilient tourism industry for Barbados.