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.
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.
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?
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