BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, February 28, 2020 (CMC) – The Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) says it “deeply regrets” the incident that left a visiting Canadian national paralysed, after being shot.
The BTMI said that the incident, last weekend, “falls short of the founding values of our small community, as we pride ourselves on being a proven-safe destination, with many years of encouraging visitors to enjoy Barbados as their home, away from home.
“We are, therefore, maintaining contact with the victim’s family and are assisting them, where possible, during this difficult time, both locally and through our in-market representatives overseas. We are also in daily communication with the Royal Barbados Police Force, which has assured us that this matter is being dealt with, carefully and urgently,” it said.
Attorney General, Dale Marshall, condemned what he termed the “callous home invasion” that left 65-year old Kenneth Elliott severely injured.
Marshall said that while the incident is bad, from a tourism standpoint, it is also a clear indication of the lengths to which the criminal element would go to achieve their unjust ends.
“Tourism is our bread and butter, and Barbados cannot afford to have any negative references about how safe, or unsafe, it is. In fact, Barbados was always felt to be a safe place for visitors and this kind of callous conduct, on the part of a few hooligans, can threaten the livelihood of our country,” Marshall said.
He added that the vacation for the Canadian and his family had been ruined, as a result of the incident.
“[Elliott] was here on holiday. He and his family came to Barbados, 23 years ago, and they had such a wonderful time, that they decided to come back, as a family; and that family vacation was completely ruined, because of villains, who feel that it is alright for them to break into a house – one with a gun, another with a cutlass – and attack the people,” he added.
“It is clear that these people are happy to go, anywhere, to perpetrate a crime. So I want to tell you, that while this happened to tourists, it could have happened to you or me. It didn’t happen in a tourist belt, it happened in a residential area. I have seen the video and those guys walked into the home with a gun,” Marshall added.
“I am told that when you are looking at a gun and it is in somebody’s hands, your life could be gone in a moment…so I am not asking Barbadians to be brave or to try to be heroes, but the kind of heroism that we need is for Barbadians to say ‘I do not accept this kind of behaviour’,” Marshall said.
Police have made no arrest, as yet, and the BTMI said “as the country’s tourism marketing entity, our highest priority, at this time, is to reassure everyone that this regrettable incident is not representative of Barbados or our Barbadian people”.