The recent tragic attack on two Canadian visitors which occurred on Long Beach was a reality check for Barbados. Our heavy dependence on a good reputation in the tourist market has been placed under threat in the aftermath of the vicious attack. The good reputation as a low crime destination which Barbados has enjoyed over the years has provided the goodwill to absorb the negative result from the attack. Barbados like tourist dependent destinations cannot afford to experience a rise in any illegal activity targeted at tourists especially given the prevailing global economic condition.
We wish the victims Luana Cotsman and her mother-in-law Terry Schwarzfeld, of Ottawa well!
Canada falls into our top two tourist markets. While it is easy to make the point that criminal activity may occur anywhere and at anytime, when it does occur the experience is always negative.The reality check caused by the recent attack is a reminder that Barbadians must be eternally vigilant to ensure that each citizen wears the badge of island protector with honour.
Barbados relative to the other Caribbean countries is a low crime jurisdiction. The balance between managing the Barbados brand and reporting crime presents obvious challenges for the media. As Barbados transforms to a ‘cosmopolitan place’ the new environment will present challenges. This new environment is already showing signs of threatening the stable country which Barbadians have taken for granted for so long. The government MUST start to take decisions in the interest of Barbadians and reprioritize the fixation successive governments seem to place on regional obligations.
To the government’s credit it has responded quickly to the public outcry at the incident which occurred at Long Beach. Barbadians have known for years about the criminal activity which has occurred and likely to occur at Long Beach. Unfortunately it had to take a vicious attack on tourists to galvanize focus on the need to rollout creative security strategies in that area.
They are some who would say that the focus should be on making all of Barbados safe and this would be the true and ideal position if resources permitted. Barbados at this juncture in our economic development must do all that it can to protect the reputation of Barbados as a low crime tourist destination. If that good reputation takes a big hit so too the high standard of living we have come to enjoy.
The Barbados government may want to take this opportunity to evaluate the one-sided contribution tourism makes to our economy. Is there scope to diversify the economy? Is this a national discussion we should be having?
We take this opportunity to encourage Barbadians and others everywhere to report and tips to the authorities which may lead to the apprehension of criminals. You should call the Royal Barbados Police Force Hotline at (246) 429-8787 or go to the Crime Stoppers Website where tips can be reported anonymously for rewards.