Barbados Advocate Covers Up Police Failure To Respond To Theft, Gunshots At Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary


Professional Journalism or Subtle Propaganda?

Yesterday we told you about the Royal Barbados Police Force failing to attend calls for help at the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary. The sanctuary staff reported crimes in progress including theft of fish, threats and gunshots. The police did not attend, and the Graeme Hall staff had to go to the police station to file a report. (Previous BFP story here)

Now the Barbados Advocate has covered the story, but “adjusted” the wording surrounding the non-attendance of the police to be rather ambiguous. One would think from reading the article that the police attended, they were just a minute too late. (Click the above article image in red)

It went on for hours. Theft in progress. Threats. Sounds of gunshots.

And the Royal Barbados Police Force never arrived… but the “professional” news media is soft-peddling the facts of the story for political purposes.

Years Of Unacceptable Police Non-Performance

In the past three years, the Royal Barbados Police Force has come under heavy and increasing criticism from citizens and the courts for various failures, shortcomings and wrong-doings. We can debate forever about what caused the deterioration of what was once a premier law enforcement organisation in the region, but few citizens will argue against the statement that the RBPF has been in deep decline for a number of years.

The most recent (and well deserved) criticism followed the Long Beach murder of a Canadian tourist, Terry Schwarzfeld. Subsequent to the arrest of Curtis Joel Foster for the murder, the public discovered that the man had committed a series of tourist robberies and rapes in the very location where Schwarzfeld was murdered – a series of vicious crimes that had been hushed up by the police and the news media for almost a year!

The best the Bajan media could come up with that approached criticism of the police was a recent article in The Nation titled Long Beach Robbery Cases Under Review. When questioned why the police had been so ineffective in protecting tourists from violent attacks at one location for a whole year, Dottin lamely replied “We will certainly learn from the review that is being undertaken. But I want to stress it is a reasonable question.”

The words “Under review” from Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin pretty well sums it up… the failings of the Royal Barbados Police Force will be “reviewed” by the police themselves, who are in truth unaccountable to anyone but themselves. There is no civilian oversight of the police in Barbados.

Public Relations Campaign Instead Of Professional Performance Levels By Our Police

But true to the Bajan model for deflecting and ignoring criticism, the police and their media friends are now engaged in a massive “good publicity” campaign to boost the image of the Royal Barbados Police Force. No changes have been made, you understand. What they are doing is to announce plans and intents – along with a good dose of “We hear and We care” statements. The Barbados Advocate jumped on board to announce Police On The Right Track.

No outcomes or successes will be announced because, well, the RBPF are selling image, not effect – intent, not changes implemented. In today’s Nation, Dottin has the police as victims, saying You just can’t win against a critical public. Poor baby. Not to fear though, for the Barbados Police have just signed a deal with the USA to report illegal firearms into a US database. Great… that rates about four news major articles ’bout what the police “gonna do”.

Have Barbados Police Ever Heard Of A Crime Map???

Have Barbados Police Ever Heard Of A Crime Map???

Let’s Look At Real Police Performance, Shall We?

A series of violent tourist robberies and a rape occurred on Long Beach over a year. Anyone who has watched a detective movie has seen crime maps on the police station wall with different coloured pins denoting various crimes, locations and frequencies. The police are able to look at the map and spot trends, clusters of crimes, high crime areas and crimes with similar suspect descriptions and methods. The LEADERS in the police then prioritise and task personnel to take care of the worst and most important crime clusters.

You know, crime clusters like a series of tourists being robbed, beaten and raped on the same stretch of beach for over a year! Oh sure, after the murder that just had to come as the robber became more and more emboldened by the lack of police at his favourite robbery site over a whole year – we have the pathetic politicans saying that NOW they are going to de-bush the area and put more police patrols on the beach. Too little, and way too late for Terry Schwarzfeld. (Nation News: Extra protection measures for Long Beach after attack)

Somebody failed to note the violent crime rampage against tourists at Long Beach for over a year. Somebody failed to detail sufficient police resources to protect the tourists and arrest the suspect.

And because of those police failures, Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld died – and our most important industry is further imperiled as it is being pummeled by the economic crisis.

It is time for Commissioner Dottin to do the honourable thing. It is time for the Royal Barbados Police Force to have the dynamic leadership and resources that it needs to protect Barbadians, our visitors and our economy.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, News Media, Police, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

23 responses to “Barbados Advocate Covers Up Police Failure To Respond To Theft, Gunshots At Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

  1. Anonymous

    Many thanks BFP, for putting all of the P’s and Q’s together, crossing the T’s and dotting (sic Dottin) the I’s. What a pity that this only appears on the Internet. When will the mainstream media catch up? I look forward to when this Internet blogging becomes instrumental in promoting real democracy.

  2. Anonymous Too

    Citizen journalism is really giving mainstream media a run for its money. Too bad they are too busy turning themselves into gossip machines and tabloids to notice these glaring facts.

  3. Anon99

    This is just a differently re-written press release BFP. My goodness, does everything have to reek of a CONSPIRACY THEORY and COVER UP? A cover up would be not carrying it at all.

  4. a Long beach walker

    Will people please bombard the newspapers with letters to the editor calling attention to this. I am one who walked on Long beach in Jan. and feelvery lucky NOT to have been robbed, raped, or murdered!

  5. cq8

    Anon99, the Advocate article was not “just a differently re-written press release”. In context it obscures the truth about the police failure to attend a call for help where shots were reported fired! In context it is a small article in the midst of many larger police-positive article by a pro-government rag.

    Keep up the good work BFP! Don’t let them rest. ITAL NOW! Integrity Legislation NOW!

  6. Jason

    I never heard about the violent robberies and rape at Long Beach until after the culprit was arrested. The crime spree had been going on for a year but we the people were never told about it. The tourists were not warned there was a problem and the police did nothing.

    Commissioner Dottin should retire.

  7. Chicago

    If push pin crime maps aren’t good enough for RBPF, they could use Google Earth for free to mark out crime areas. LAPD does.

  8. Missing Home

    BFP said “Somebody failed to note the violent crime rampage against tourists at Long Beach for over a year. Somebody failed to detail sufficient police resources to protect the tourists and arrest the suspect.”

    That is right at the heart of the matter. For a year attacks were occurring at Long Beach, but the tourists and the hotels in the tourist industry were not told about the attacks. The police and the newspapers engaged in a conspiracy of silence.

    As a result, tourists including Schwarzfeld continued to frequent a beautiful beach on the south coast – oblivious to the fact that the police knew it was a dangerous area.

    When will the police and the government finally realize that unless Barbados can offer itself as a safe tourist destination, we have nothing? Today the police commissioner is in the papers saying that investigating crimes against tourists is not more important than investigating crimes against citizens.

    I beg to differ. Look at what has happened from one robbery against a Canadian tourist. Barbados has received negative press worldwide that will take years to recover from.

    We need a new police Commissioner, one who realizes that a single incident of crime against a tourist can, in a worst-case scenario, cost Barbados everything. We need political leadership that realizes the Royal Barbados police force are the very foundation of our tourist industry and economy and provides sufficient budget for the police to do what they have to do.

  9. If you click on the link at my name, you’ll see the Police are no stranger to this kind of “action,” my mum filed a complaint and I arrived at the apartment ON FOOT faster than they were WITH WHEELS (click on my name for full story tied in with GHNS)

  10. PiedPiper

    I notice the article in The Advocate is attributed to one Katrinah Best. I wonder if she trolls the blogs?

  11. Jukecheckedeyskirt

    Sound professionalism and service seems to elude Barbados’s approach to effectiveness. Asking for Dottin’s resignation is a waste of time. Asking for anyone to be held accountable is a waste of time. Professionalism gains as much respect as shirking and bluffing. Wake up sillies, Barbados only reacts and responds in crisis. It is the hall mark of our “proactive” approaches.

  12. Nostradamus

    Anyone knows what Dr. Lowe, Minister of Environment with responsibility for The Sanctuary has been up to? Anyone seen or heard him recently?

    Place closed, staff severed, people stealing the wildlife and not a word out of the “doctor”.

  13. bajanbat

    Does anyone wonder why the press is so apathetic in reporting these incidents?
    I don’t think it is because they don’t know about them. I think it is because they have been “advised” by someone with the appropriate clout at the right level not to publish stories that will rock the boat. Things are getting tough enough around here already without the press printing facts about robberies, rapes and other crimes against tourists. That could cause panic, travel advisories from those countries whose citizens have been harmed and loss of valuable revenue. You don’t want that, do you?

  14. LB

    As a victim of more burglaries and attempted burglaries than I can count on one hand I can say that I have no confidence whatsoever in the Barbados police. None. As a matter of fact if I were a criminal and I had knowledge of the RBPF I would move to Barbados for work. In one burglary where my house was practically cleaned out, the perpetrators left footprints (it was raining and muddy), hand prints, fingerprints, dna (from a partly-used Coca-cola that was discarded in the house), and the police are yet to send a fingerprint technician or even an investigator to the scene. They sent a young constable with a pen and a book to take a report and that was the end of that. May God protect the people in Barbados, because the RBPF are useless.

  15. Sargeant

    The citizens of Barbados have so much confidence in the RBPF that every home which has been built in the last 25-30 years have burglar bars at the doors and windows. That is either a sign that people are terrified of being victims of crime or the burglar bars are a design feature. I bet if you check out the Commissioner’s or any senior officers’ homes you will find they also have the metal bars to keep the criminals out.

    I’ve said it before; many crimes go unreported because of the ineptitude or indifferent response of the investigating officers. People share information and when the same story about hapless efforts in solving a crime is repeated time after time they will throw their hands up and say “what’s the use?” They will add another lock or get another dog and hope to have better luck in future. One more thing if you get a dog and can afford it you should ensure that he/she is trained not to accept food from strangers I’ve also heard that guard dogs have been poisoned but that’s another story…..

  16. Tudor

    There was another incident at the Sanctuary on sunday, this time I am informed that the Police came.
    It is ironic but when the Sanctuary was open a joint Police/BDF patrol, fully armed with hand guns & M16 rifles used tour the site “looking” for drugs etc… In fact GHNS Officals asked the patrol to leave the rifles (which they did) under the supervision of one of the team in their vehicle so as not to alarm visitors seeing heavily armed persons going thru the Sanctuary. Unfortunately now that the Sanctuary is closed the patrols have ended. Huh?

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