BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, March 22, 2019 (CMC) – The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) says, while the island remains a safe destination, the authorities must deal, urgently, with the recent upsurge in murders, here.
The latest killing occurred, yesterday, when a man was shot, at a popular mall, on the outskirts of the capital.
Police Commissioner, Tyrone Griffith, has sought to re-assure citizens, in the wake of the 20th murder, so far this year, saying, “we have a plan and we are sticking to our plan”.
“We know that we will get the results that we want. Many of these shooting incidents are reprisals and, based on that, it is kind of difficult, because the co-operation is not really there from individuals, who from time to time, are being attacked,” he said, following a meeting with Attorney General, Dale Marshall.
“However, we will make sure that we do, all in our power, to wrestle this ugly situation to the ground. We intend to find these perpetrators and bring them before the court, in a short space of time,” he added.
BHTA Chief Executive Officer, Rudy Grant, addressing the BHTA’s quarterly meeting, said the continuing serious crimes, particularly those related to murder, are of concern to the hoteliers.
“While it is acknowledged that Barbados is still considered a safe destination, all actions must be undertaken to control the issue of serious crimes, which, in recent months, are more frequent,” said Grant, who is also a government legislator.
“Barbados, as a tourism destination, is considered safe, where visitors have the ability to comfortably explore our island and interact with Barbadians and are exposed to our warmth, friendliness and true Bajan hospitality.
“Escalating criminal activity can jeopardize and railroad all the gains, which Barbados has made as a tourism destination. It is critical that all efforts are undertaken, to ensure that Barbados continues to be safe for both locals and visitors,” he urged.
But Grant said that the BHTA was not sitting by idly, and would seek to help the law enforcement authorities in dealing with the situation.
“In January this year, the BHTA provided sponsorship for the purchase and installation of CCTV cameras on the west coast. This was a further commitment to assist the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) with equipment, and was the continuation of similar sponsorship for the purchase and installation of cameras, on the south coast and elsewhere.
“There have been continued collaboration between the BHTA and the RBPF on other areas, related to crime, as well as safety and security,” he said, adding that “our members have reported increased police presence in this area”.
During her budget presentation, on Wednesday, Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, said the greatest concern to Barbadians is the escalation in gun-related violence.
“It is a scourge we will not ignore or tolerate, and we have already begun taking steps to counter. We must do all in our power to save our young people. We know that this problem is as deep as it is broad. There is no easy, no singular, no magical solution. The solutions must be multiple and comprehensive,” he proposed.
She said the police must be part of the solution and that more technology, better morale, and a protective services commission, must work in trusted and committed partnership with communities everywhere.