Barbados Police Force Being Hoodwinked By Sleazy Tourists

index_logo.jpgWe have been receiving emails querying the state of negotiations regarding the Royal Shop and Sandy Lane industrial disputes. BU readers may remember that a national strike was recently averted at the eleventh hour when as all Barbadians anticipated, the new Prime Minister David Thompson intervened. The reason offered and accepted by the union we understand was the ‘newness’ of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government. Apparently, it was felt by Sir Roy Trotman using all of his superior wisdom that Prime Minister Thompson and his government needed some time to acquaint themselves with all the matters involved in the dispute. What made matters worst was the national strike action being strategically called on the eve of the departure of Prime Minister Thompson to Trinidad on an official trip.

Several issues have arisen from the disputes currently simmering which involves Sandy Lane and Royal Shop. We highlighted the accusation by the person at the centre of the Sandy Lane dispute alleging police brutality while giving his statement in the custody of the police. But there is another issue, one which has been known to the authorities and ordinary Barbadians alike for many years now.

Employees who work in the tourist industry will tell you that many tourists who visit our island sometimes do so for other reasons. Many stories have been circulated about tourists who visited our island because of the opportunity to hoodwink the system. Are you asking how they do? Many of them cry thief, thief, by claiming that some expensive piece of jewelery has been stolen. The local police is called and a statement promptly given by the victim. The victims armed with a bona fide statement issued by the Royal Barbados Police Force makes it their business to visit their insurance company at the first opportunity. No doubt claims are settled, but the feedback we are getting suggests that the item would never have been stolen. This is a scam which has been going on for years and which we suspect is known to the authorities on the ground, but what can they do about it?

People familiar with the practice claim that our policemen are too predictable when they respond to tourists who perpetuate these little scams. Some say that the reports from tourists claiming to be the victims of theft are usually taken at face value by all involved to protect the guests. Why are we associating this practice to the Sandy Lane Affair? Your guess is as good as ours!

9 thoughts on “Barbados Police Force Being Hoodwinked By Sleazy Tourists

  1. You are right about the length of time this type of behaviour has been going on. If my memory serves me well one or two persons were caught over the years. I know of a visitor who reported some jewelry stolen. She gave the police an excellent description with specific identifying marks. The Police circulated the description in the morning report. A plainclothes officer who paid attention to the report happened to be on a bus travelling north observed a piece of jewelry around a woman’s neck. She was sitting across from him and on further observation realised that it looked exactly like the one in the information circulated. He directed the bus driver to take the bus to the nearest police station. He told the lady of his suspicions and once in the station it was discovered that she was the same person who reported the jewelry stolen. She already had her statement to take to the insurance company back in England. She was charged. The Police has taken several steps over the years to counter this type of behaviour but like anything else some will slip through the crack. BU, I will say that it is not as widespread as you believe.

  2. There are ‘good&bad apples’ everywhere, in every country and perhaps all institutions–Barbados is no exception.
    That aside,one has to look at the truth on both sides. There are always two sides to an argument.
    Assuming an item was stolen,a complaint lodged, the police must investigate. During the investigation the police should question all who entered or have access; should look at all possible angles how the ‘item’ go amist. In their investigation,they should treat every one as a suspect but also respect individuals while carrying out their duty. By showing respect doesn’t show weakness or inability to do ones job.
    The person who alleges ‘valuables’ was stolen,must produce evidence where the ‘valuables’ was obtained, especially if it is a large amount of cash.
    If I should go to a bank with 10 thousand dollars I MUST say how I got this amount of cash. If I enter another country with thousands of dollars in cash, bells would ring.(Why is it that he chooses to travel with so much cash and not use his/her ‘plastic card?’).
    Electronic money is the modern way to carry/move large sums. For this reason, suspicion of money laundering especially cash which can be easily disposed of could be avoided.
    It is hope that the police would look into all possibilities and at the same time seek to prosecute the person/s, if he/she broke Barbados’s laws by entering the country and not declaring a large sum.
    It is known where tourists and citizens in a number of countries have tried to dupe the police by claiming an expensive item of jewellery or money missing. In some cases, the items were not as valuable as claimed and in some the items never existed. Hope the police is aware of these type of scams and investigate this matter thoroughly.
    That’s said; At all times when a person is suspected, he/she should be treated as a ‘suspect’ until he is found guilty.
    The police must investigate and prosecute.Every one should be treated with respect.
    The judge decides on the penalty for the crime.
    My final note: It is time the police should be equipped with cameras to record arrest,interogations.This makes it less difficult for one to accuse the other of wrong doing. Every person has humanrights. ‘Treat all people with dignity’.
    “Peace be on you”.

  3. Tony Hall please tell the BU familiy why you think it is not very wide spread? Are you privy to information directly addresses this issue?

  4. I wish a knowledgeable reader of these columns would supply me with some information I need to have to make a balanced conclusion.

    1. Can anyone tell me the name of any country where the labor union has shut it down because of some rangling over the dismissal of an employee?

    2. Will the BWU be coming to the aid of the ‘consultants’ just fired by Thompie? And will be have a work stoppage and another ‘shut down the country’ if they are not reinstated?

    I’d really appreciate any information on these two Qs. Thanks.

  5. LOlol

    BTW we are in the tourism business so of cousre we will get a few nasty crooked tourists as well. Howvere what does that have to do with anything?

  6. I’m not sure if the intention here is to support the BWU but this sort of thing goes on all the time in all destinations. Insurance fraud is so widespread that only a small number of claims are actually investigated. As for the BWU, their tactics and behaviour have had nothing to do with whether the employee in question actually stole money or not (he hasn’t been fired or charged). The BWU ignored due process and escalated two minor issues in which employers were in the right (legally if not morally) to the level of a national strike. Sheer madness.

  7. Insurance fraud is prevalent so does that mean our police force should aid and abet these thieves by using a lackadaisical approach?

  8. Me // March 3, 2008 at 9:03 am


    BTW we are in the tourism business so of cousre we will get a few nasty crooked tourists as well. Howvere what does that have to do with anything?


    The tourist will leave and go back home and may be a little richer for it, however the employee who has been wrongly accused, must remain in the 2×4 island and be the object of much debate and negative discussion.

  9. Surly Roy just flexing his muscles. He en had no good press in recent times so he reminding the country that he more powerful than the PM. Regardless of the issues in the disputes, it is TOTALLY ABSURD that a union should be able to shut down the entire country and threaten all of our well being by calling a general strike over such an issue. Do what you have to with the companies involved, but LEAVE OUR COUNTRY ALONE, Surly.

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