Ottawa Citizen Newspaper, National Canadian Coverage: “Bajan Media Ignores Attack On Women. Feisty Barbados Free Press Only Outlet To Speak Out For Schwarzfeld”


Canadians Disgusted At Silence Of Barbados Government On Tourist Attacks

For the past week, the national Canadian news media has been feasting on the story of the brutal Barbados beach attack on two Canadian women tourists in broad daylight – playing the same clips over and over of the Bajan High Commissioner saying, words to the effect “It doesn’t happen often. Barbados is a safe place.”

Except that the High Commissioner’s little blurb is then followed with the story of another brutal attack on Canadian women tourists that predated the current incident by a year – information that makes our High Commissioner appear to be deceitful and uncaring. Every time the story airs on television, another hundred Alberta farmers decide to head for Florida or Hawaii this winter instead of Barbados.

The Barbados Government can’t say they weren’t warned this would happen if they didn’t approach tourist attacks with transparency, compassion and concern – and a sense of urgency.

Tweedle Dee

Tweedle Dee

One would think that Prime Minister Thompson might have said something about this incident to the Canadian news media at least once in the past week… to show the world that Barbados is taking this seriously and pulling out all the stops. I mean, HELL… it’s only our national economy and tourism industry that’s at stake here! But nope… he said nada.

And now the Canadian news media has run with the story of the Barbados Government’s silence. Have a read of the Ottawa Citizen article Bajan Media Ignores Attack On Women for an insight into what Canadians think about our government’s response so far!

Thompson should have been on it 24/7. There should have been an incident handling team already in place: not to shush-up the local media but to actually assist the victims’ families and to make sure every resource we have is dedicated to arresting the culprit and making our beaches safe for Canadian tourists. Not “talking” about what might be done, but actually doing something. I know our government has a problem with actually accomplishing a desired outcome, but surely in this issue of national importance maybe we might assign beach patrols until the madman is arrested?

You know… really do it instead of merely talking about it.

Tweedle Dum

Tweedle Dum

Prime Minister Thompson or Commission Dottin should have requested a couple of Canadian “Mounties” police officers to assist in the investigation to lend transparency and reassure the Canadian public that 1/ we care and 2/ the Barbados police want to have the best investigation possible.

Barbados Free Press made that suggestion and many others in February of 2007 when we analyzed the horrendous handling of the Natalee Holloway disappearance by the Aruba authorities. Here is some of what we said at the time…

“The initial police response to any crime or incident must be thoroughly professional – because the performance of our police, medical profession and other first responders will be held up to scrutiny and compared against the best in the world. Any incident involving foreigners, no matter how major or minor, has the potential to generate international media attention under a variety of circumstances…

…the international traveling public will accept a few unfortunate tourist incidents – but only if there is not one hint of a cover-up or sloppy, uncaring response. Everybody knows that trouble happens – and they also know that what happens after the trouble occurs is the true test of any organization.

There should be a professional “international incident” response plan and policies in place. Perhaps 70% of our economy is tourist based in one way or another, and we should be responding to any incident with an attitude, resources and actions that show we care. For the police, that means that senior experienced officers are assigned from the first opportunity, and that senior management does everything it can to provide resources above and beyond the normal response. That might sound like a double standard when a victim is a tourist vs. a citizen – and it is – but the international scrutiny demands 110% and nothing less.

It does much good to immediately invite foreign police investigators from the victim’s country to team up on the investigation. The egos of local police and political types must be left out of the equation. Foreign police investigators on the team provide information resources from the victim’s home country and a cultural perspective on the victim that Barbados police officers do not have. Foreign police services often have access to superior crime laboratories and other resources. Lastly, the inclusion of foreign police investigators goes a long way to remove any doubts about cover-ups.

… from the Barbados Free Press article Say “Aruba” – Think “Natalee Holloway”

Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson: Are You Listening To The Canadians?

So far, Prime Minister David Thompson, his government and the Royal Barbados Police Force have failed miserably to respond to this and other attacks on tourists with both actions and words. Thompson and Dottin just don’t get it! You can’t hide this. Barbados tourism has been slaughtered every day for the last week in the Canadian news media and we haven’t heard one word from anyone in government. The Bajan newspapers have been caught out hiding the story as per usual. That really plays well in Ottawa. Just read the damn article at the top of this page!

Prime Minister Thompson, Police Commissioner Dottin… What the HELL are you doing?

Further Reading…

Ottawa Citizen, March 8, 2009: Bajan Media Ignores Attack On Women

Barbados Free Press, March 8, 2009: Update – Barbados Tourist Beating Victim Terry Schwarzfeld – Condition Worsens “Significant Brain Damage”

Barbados Free Press, March 5, 2009: Canadian Women Attacked On Barbados Beach – Shocked Barbadians Offer Regrets, Sympathy and Best Wishes To Victims, Families and Friends


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Canada, Crime & Law, Freedom Of The Press, Offshore Investments, Police, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

64 responses to “Ottawa Citizen Newspaper, National Canadian Coverage: “Bajan Media Ignores Attack On Women. Feisty Barbados Free Press Only Outlet To Speak Out For Schwarzfeld”

  1. Chicago

    Reasonable people will forgive an incident or two if it looks like the authorities are doing everything possible to make the country safe for tourists. So far I don’t see this kind of response happening by the Barbados authorities.

  2. Sundowner

    I’ve heard via e mail from Canadian friends, expressing disbelief at the Governments response here, except for one, who lived here for 18years, her comment to the media blackout was ‘nothing changes then’.
    The Government really needs to jump on this quickly to prevent any further damage being done, if ever there was a year when we needed tourists this is it! I’m appalled at the lack of response.

  3. peltdownman

    Don’t you know that to give preference to crimes against visitors is racist? Cuh dear! That’s why we can’t have tourist police. In most countries that rely on tourism, such an attack would constitute an economic as well as a physical crime. If government really want to offer a stimulous package that works, they could well start with a larger and better-paid police force – something that would really benefit the country in the long term.

  4. Donald Duck, Esq

    I know of a person who suffered a major burglary the other night. To me there has been a signficant increase in such burglaries.

  5. Willie

    It is interesting that you suggest calling in outside police assistance. That was one area that the illustrious VOB correspondent, mentioned in my earlier post on this incident, was proud to say that Barbados does not have to do unlike others in the region. There is none so blind etc.

    I also notice that the Nation newspaper’s North American scribe has finally cobbled together bits and pieces of stories on the incident – what a disgrace.

    Keep up the exemplary work BFP. You are a credit to Barbadians at home and abroad.

  6. goldendeal

    I was considering a 2 week vacation in Barbados, after reading this article; I am now going to The Cayman Islands.
    Safety is number one priority while on vacation.
    This non caring attitude by the government officials of Barbados will not only affect tourist from Canada, but from USA as well.
    I am from USA and I have changed my plans accordingly. Many other will follow.
    With the global economy down, Barbados can ill afford bad press with its tourism.

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  8. Don’t count on it, Sundowner.
    I am not foreseeing any changes in the media reporting crimes, against locals or foreigners.
    Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum will see to that.

  9. Hants

    The Barbados High Comissioner to Canada was cut off after 11 words in 10 seconds on CTV National News in Canada.

    The Canadian Government minister spoke for about 2 minutes as well as the husband.

    The Government and people of Barbados need to do more to protect Tourists and each other.
    Prehaps Neighbourhood watch needs to include the beaches.

    The BTA,High Commission and Consul General’s office need to be “mobilised”.

    Yesterday on CP24 Tv in Toronto there was a 3 line statement that read more or less like this,
    “Ottawa woman takes turn for the worse after being attacked on a Beach in Barbados.

    This popped at the bottom of the screen every 2 or 3 minutes. That is terrible negative publicity for Barbados.

    Let us continue to pray for or wish well for the lady and her family.

  10. Jason

    GoWebBlog is asking whether bloggers are journalists. Seeing as the Ottawa Citizen referred to BFP as a “feisty online newspaper”, it appears that to the professional Canadian journalists, the answer is:

    Yes. Barbados Free Press bloggers are journalists.

  11. bad boy jim

    BFP,This is the first time i must disagree with you all. how do you expect the PM to be on this case 24/7. the country have an attorney general and a home affairs minister,he is the one to look after this,so go after him and get off the pm back..I live in canada and only seen this in the owttawa news.this kind of thing dont happen every month or very often.


    BFP says, 24/7 is a figure of speech. So far Thompson’s record is zero words in 10 days.

  12. Hants

    @ bad boy jim

    I live in Toronto and it has been on CTV news, on CP24 constantly and in the Toronto newspapers.

    Google the story and you will see the story is in almost every newspaper in Canada.

    This is a serious situation. All hands on deck.

  13. Green Monkey

    Naturally I extend my sincere condolences and best wishes to the victim of this vicious crime and her relatives and family.

    If there is no progress being made in this investigation, I am wondering if the BTA or its members and /or the government of Barbados should create a reward fund to be offered to anyone providing information leading to the capture and conviction of the lowlife, bottom feeding scum that was responsible for this brutal act of violence against a guest in our country. I, for one, would be willing to donate to such a fund.

    In a way it’s sad to think that someone might have information that was relevant to this case and keep his/her mouth shut, but if it takes a monetary reward to pry open closed lips in order to remove one dangerous, violent criminal, and in all probability a future repeat offender, from our midst, so be it.

  14. Hants

    Great idea. Rewards work.

  15. Hants

    On a positive note as printed in the Nationnews.

    “In an email sent, Stephen Cotsman, husband of the other victim, Luana Cotsman, said that the family had received “strong support” from Bajan police officers, the Barbados Tourism Authority,the Canadian High Commission, neighbours and “the local people”.

  16. Jason

    Good, but that is only one piece of what needs to be done. The word has to get out internationally that Barbados is handling this well and that special measures are being taken until the culprit is behind bars.

    One man has made so much of a negative impact for the island that Barbados should be communicating that it is one man and meanwhile the beaches are under constant vigilance by police etc.

    This is being mishandled. The victims and their family must be satisfied with the country’s response, but moreso new travelers must be 100% sure that our beaches are safe. Nothing has been done to really secure the beaches or communicate that we have done so.

    Thompson where are you? The PM should be front and center of our public response. It shows how important safety.

  17. Jason

    sorry… hit send accidentally.

    Last sentence should read…

    “It shows how important tourist safety is to our country when our top leader is personally involved”

  18. Beefcake

    It has been in the news across the entire of Canada. It’s only a matter of time that this is picked up by BBC or CNN.

    The victim is a prominent individual; it has little to do with Barbados as it could happen anywhere, however the ramifications for Barbados could be enormous especially given the handling of the affair by the institutions of this country.

  19. Beefcake

    And Thompson ran a political campaign some years ago lamenting the increase of “Crime and Violence”. Remember those radio ads?

    He has the opportunity to lead this country and show some testicular fortitude.

    He’s only worried about his Clico investments…

  20. Rumboy

    Crap. Why don’t you go to Cuba.

  21. I agree, this reminds me a lot of ARUBA. I mean the way it is being handled.
    My wife & I vacationed in Barbados a number of years ago & this is very disapointing.We use to say great things about your county.

  22. PiedPiper

    You know what disturbs me? The police did issue a statement and I can’t remember if it was in one of the articles by the Ottawa Citizen, saying that Long Beach IS patrolled by the police until 3:00 pm. They said something to the effect that most people have left the beach by that time so after that there is no police patrol. There have been comments by both Bajans and tourists, one who has come to Barbados for many years, that they have never seen police patrolling Long Beach. I just wonder what exactly “patrolling” means cause you know police in Barbados don’t like to get out of their vehicles at all, at all. They might brek a sweat. Does “patrolling” mean driving their vehicle up to the access road and looking out the windscreen?

  23. Jason

    Patrol? Police patrol? I have never seen any police on Long Beach at any time. Many windsurfers from Zed’s but no police.

  24. PiedPiper

    Well then Jason, you see how the RBPF does lie when the shite hits the fan. These police go out on patrol on mornings with a list of things and culprits to check out but who is making sure that that their duties are being performed? The whole system is broken and no one is accountable. Half the damn RBPF is engaged in less than legal activity themselves.
    Thompie, unless you want your legacy to be a do nothing PM, you need to act like a man with balls and sooner than later.

  25. J

    Dear Jason:

    This was an unfortunate incident, and all reasonable people wish the women well.

    However you wrote “but moreso new travelers must be 100% sure that our beaches are safe. Nothing has been done to really secure the beaches”

    How do you make almost 100 miles of coastline 100% safe?

    Is any 100 mile stretch of beach, parkland, or street in Canada 100% safe?

  26. reality check

    “I have never seen any police on Long Beach”

    One of the property owners on Long Beach advised me several years ago that he went to investigate a lot of shooting down on Long Beach in the late afternoon and found two cars of men hanging around, drinking and shooting at empty bottles and leaving the glass in the sand.

    When he sent in the license plates and a note to the head of the Police at Oistins an officer came to his door and advised that these were on duty under cover police officers. They also asked if he wanted to proceed with an official complaint. The owner said the police had more important things to do and that the offenders should clean up the glass, get back to work, stop lieing to their bosses and be reprimanded.

    So you see Jason, occassionally you do see police on the beach only you can’t tell by their actions if they are protecting you or part of the criminal behaviour.

  27. love barbados

    It’s a fact that Canadians are being affected by the repeated mentioning of the incident in Barbados. Probably it’s too late for any credible Bajan government response. But as I have noted, this isn’t the only instance of crime or violence against non-locals being covered up or glossed over by media. What about that teenage girl- the daughter of diplomats or foreign residents, I think- who was murdered in her bed last year? I could never find any follow-up on that anywhere. Not that I think Barbados is a particularly violent place, compared to other Caribbean islands, for sure. But openness in the media and among the public goes a long way in dealing with these kinds of terrible incidents and seeking ways to stop them from happening.

  28. 82

    For somebody that don’t even live here you knows a hell of a lot about illegal activity of HALF the RBPF, Patrick …. hope your balls in good working order too.

  29. reality check


    Is this the normal day to day threat that goes on in Barbados because the legal system is broke and there is no free press?

    As I said “only you can’t tell by their actions if they are protecting you or part of the criminal behaviour.”

    If Barbados had a free press and transparent society as promised there would be no need for these collection of horror stories to be circulating among travellers.

    Barbados and the AG have still done nothing about Ronja Juman who was taken from her home in front of her son at 2 in the morning at the behest of the Director of Public Prosecution by a cop with a blank search warrant to be strip searched and terrorized because of unpaid rent money. Are you part of that crooked system?

  30. reluctant nonbeliever

    There are no regular police patrols at Long Beach at any time of day.


    Incidentally – what the hell do the BDF at Paragon (just above Long Beach for those of you who don’t know) actually DO all day…?

  31. Donald Duck, Esq

    With the economic downturn we are experiencing things are going to get worse. The only ones profiting from the downturn are the suppliers of security systems!!!

  32. PiedPiper

    .82 aka DIGGIT: Repeat after me. My name is not Patrick and I certainly don’t have any balls (in the physical sense) as I am female. Got it?

  33. Tdotter

    As a Canadian observer, this lack of follow through and lack of interest by the media is distressing. As tourists we are cognizant of government response to acts of violence on tourists. Government coverups (Hello Mexico!) are one thing. It speaks of systemic corruption that trickles down to law enforcement. When these two entities are corrupt, they tend to set the example for the rest. But the fact that the media are also playing a part in this conspiracy of silence does not bode well for your island nation, as it relates to tourism, your biggest industry. Violence happens everywhere. As a Torontonian I can attest to that. But when silence rains down from the gov’t itself, it becomes easy to find another vacation destination. There are countries that depend largely on tourism that have laws that make the punishment for crimes against tourists harsher. Is it fair to have crimes against locals seemingly less important? Of course not. But if it’s open-season on tourists, I will vacation elsewhere and tell friends and families to do the same. Is that good for Barbados? No it is not. There are hundreds of tourist destinations in the world. Many have sand and beaches. So far Barbadoes is standing out because of this incident and the fact they are more expensive than other similar locals. In a global recession where people are watching how they spend their money, Bajans need to do more to demand more from their gov’t. They work for you after all. It’s you who calls the shots.

  34. Liberty

    News of the lack of reporting of such incudents doesn’t come as a surprise to this Canadian. While B’dos is a relatively safe place to visit, you just can’t count on the press to report on crime. The press cherry picks all of its news based on the appeal to their consumers like most (free) news outlets will do. Maybe if the victim was “horning with a certain senior employee at a certain popular establishment…” it would get coverage. That’s what people really want to know here. Important stuff.

  35. Hants

    This is an example of proper focused Canadian news reporting.The Nation and the Advocate may consider…..
    We who live in major cities like Toronto are used to a daily dose of crime reported in the media. Vancouver is and Calgary offer similar dailycrime stories

    Ottawa citizen today
    “Michael Jeffrey, a suspected bank robber, dropped dead in the snow after a third volley of gunfire in the darkened streets of Ottawa’s east side.
    New details about the fatal police shooting of Jeffrey emerged Monday from witnesses and from the Ontario unit charged with investigating the fatal police shooting.”

    Times Colonist feb 15th.
    “Canada’s cities are in the grip of a sharp, new cycle of gang violence.”

    The Toronto Sun today.

    “There was bloody gunplay in both the west and east ends of Toronto last night.
    The first incident occurred in the Jane St. and Woolner Ave. area around 8 p.m., where a 36-year-old man was shot at least twice in the back as he was getting into a taxi cab.

  36. George

    If any of you bothered to read the comments by the victim’s husband in the same Canadian media you would have observed that he was satisfied with the response to his wife’s attack and also what his current opinion of Barbados was. The media here was trying to sensationalise and milk this for a lot more than it was, perhaps in an attempt to make residents of Ottawa forget that one store here was robbed 5 times in the last month and that bank robbery is the sport of choice in 2009 here with one or two occurring every few days. Long Beach has an eternal reputation for illegal activity from minor assaults, to rape, murder and drug running. Some people wont even walk down the street in the bad part of town where they live but would visit a foreign country and act like bad johns going wherever they please. As an individual, you are most responsible for your personal safety. Visiting a secluded place well known for illegal activity is looking for trouble.


    BFP says,

    Long Beach is hardly secluded. It is within easy walking distance for hundreds of homes and some very decent hotels and home stays. And how is a tourist supposed to know that bad things happen there? It looks just like the photos on the travel brochures!

  37. George

    Also this was reported in The Nation on the same day it was reported in Ottawa. I saw a subsequent article too. That hardly constitues a media blackout. With a no confidence motion against the government and their most famous person getting a beating prior to this, do you really think that some tourist getting mugged will be a headline ???? Get over your arrogant selves Canadians.

  38. passin thru

    George Says “Also this was reported in The Nation on the same day it was reported in Ottawa. I saw a subsequent article too.”

    Please provide the URLs of the articles you’re talking about George so we can see them and the dates. Or send a scan of the paper edition to BFP so they can print it.

  39. George

    Check page 5 of the Nation from March 3rd.

  40. George

    secluded : sheltered or screened from general activity, view, etc.: a secluded cottage.

    It’s not 100 miles from civilisation but head east along the beach and it is far enough that no one can hear or see you.
    Below is an excerpt from the Ottawa Citizen:

    “We went farther and by this point it’s a totally deserted beach. There’s absolutely no one on it. We’re chatting away, my guard is down.”

    Enough said.

    The same way when I am in a foreign place I ask people such as hotel staff and taxi drivers about no go areas is how any visitor would know the real situation. Stop acting like the government and by extension police are there to hold your hand.

  41. Anon

    As a bajan who lives overseas I never used to worry about my personal safety when I returned home now I’m beginning to wonder. Many friends have warned me about walking along some roads at night. These roads are not in in isolated areas or areas known for criminal activity but ordinary residential areas where apparently some bandits lie in wait for unsuspecting victims. It should be noted that many of these robberies are of the “stick up with knife” variety which are never reported officially, however the potential for serious injury or loss of life is there.

    I will continue to listen and observe


  42. Tired

    If we go to Canada, have we got to be careful on a bus in case we get decapitated? or has everyone forgotten that story?

  43. Anonymous

    How can you say the High commissioner is being deceitful because he said it was an isolated incident? One incident a year ago does make this some sort of national trend. Attacks happen. In Canada against Canadians – in Barbados against Barbadians.

  44. Hants

    This attack on a Tourist is an isolated incident.

    However we must not become complacent.
    Tourism is 40% of the Barbados economy.

  45. Crusty

    On March 10, 2009 at 6:07 am, reluctant nonbeliever said:

    “There are no regular police patrols at Long Beach at any time of day.


    Incidentally – what the hell do the BDF at Paragon (just above Long Beach for those of you who don’t know) actually DO all day…?”


    I can not speak for every day but I do walk on Long Beach about once a week, usually near to sundown.

    Today, for the first time ever, at about 5:00 pm, I passed two soldiers and a policewoman who were walking on the beach just above the waterline. All were in uniform and I noticed that the soldiers were carrying rifles at the sling.

    About a half hour later, I encountered a patrol of four soldiers, complete with weapons and backpack radio, who were stopped at the top of the stairs behind the cleared Long Beach Hotel site.

    Perhaps a little advertising about such patrols, their purpose and duration, would help to reduce some of the criticism.

  46. Canadians by birth/Bajans by choice

    Dear Rumboy. Your reply to Goldendeal sickens us. You just don’t get it do you? Maybe you should get your head out of the rum barrel. My husband and I are property owners on your beautiful island and the increasing number of crimes in general, not just against tourists, makes our blood run cold. As Canadians and more importantly, human beings, our hearts go out to Terry Schwarzfeld and her family and we are praying for her speedy recovery. As Barbadian residents, we are ashamed and appalled by the
    lack of response by the Barbadian government. Still, after all is said and done, we cherish and look forward to every visit to your “piece of paradise”. Your comment to Goldendeal has truly convinced “God Knows How Many” people from EVER visiting Barbados. What a loss…..for them and for Barbados!! Luckily, we have been visitors long enough to know that all Barbadians do not share your viewpoint.

  47. J

    Dear Canadians by Birth, Bajans by choice youwrote “As Barbadian residents, we are ashamed and appalled by the lack of response by the Barbadian government.”

    It is a LIE to say that the Barbados government has not responded.

    The government’s ambulance service did the appropriate thing, the government’s hospital acted appropriately, the police are acting appropriately.

    You know very well that it is not possible to solve every case in a day or two or a week or two.

    I read several Canadian papers everyday and I noted recently that the police in Ontario are now attempting to solve the cases of 2 young men who disappeared in the 1960’s and whose bodies were only found recently, one near Markham, Ontario and one further North. Does that mean that for the past 40 years the Canadian government did not respond? Does it mean that every Canadian Prime Minister since 1967 should be held responsible for these young men’s deaths?

    The Prime Minister and Cabinet of Barbados are not policemen.


    That’s the boring truth.

    The truth of course is often boring.

  48. J

    And to the blogger who expects a “public apology”

    We are truly spritually lost.

    Only the sinner can apologise to the person sinned against.

    When the one who sinned against the Canadian visitors is caught, maybe he will repent, apologise and seek reconciliation.

    Maybe he will not.

    But the fallacy that the State can apologise for an individual is just that, a fallacy

    I certainly cannot offer any meaningful apology for him, since I did not sin against the Canadian visitors.

  49. Pingback: UPDATED: New Shooting At Warrens Complex - U.S. Embassy In Barbados Issues “Crime In Barbados” Alert To American Citizens « Barbados Free Press

  50. Terry Schwarzfeld has died.

  51. westcoastcanada

    What a terrible outcome.Condolences to the family. Find the murdereer.

  52. otera

    what government would let another country come in to they country and ,and investegate.
    That would make the country look like they can’t handle they own affaires. Lets get real people what happen was brutal but that is life. Things like this happen all over the world.

  53. Pingback: British Tourist Shot Near Sandy Lane Resort Barbados On June 4, 2009 – Victim Alleges Silence By Barbados News Media, Hotel, Tourism Authorities « Barbados Free Press

  54. cq8

    Hants, it wasn’t an “isolated incident”

    Story in the nation: “A REVIEW of the investigations surrrounding a string of robberies at Long Beach, Christ Church, over the past year is under way.”


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