It has been a bitter-sweet feeling for the visitors who found their locker room emptied of their personal things after playing a game in the just concluded Women’s Volleyball World Championships. Joseph Smith, head of the delegation, said although they had not recovered everything that was lost, the team was very happy about the outcome, especially in cases where there were personal items.
“Members of the team who had I-pods and things like lap-tops with their personal information were ecstatic,” he added.
“We appreciate everything that was done for us and want to say a big thank you,” Smith said.
… from the Nation News article Loot Found
Praise Where Due, But Many Questions Remain
Criticism of the Barbados Police by the Bahamian Volleyball team gave way to praise after some good police work resulted in the arrest of two Bajan brothers and recovery of about 60% of the team members’ stolen property. The girls were particularly happy about getting back electronic devices like iPods and laptop computers that contained personal information.
While this sterling performance by the officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force takes the edge off the public relations disaster that happens whenever visitors become victims of crime, it in no way makes up for the failure of the Barbados Volleyball Association officials and planners to protect our guests in the first place.
It is the natural culture of Bajans to write this incident off because the thieves stand charged and some property was recovered. It is the natural culture of Bajans to not want to be critical of the individuals who failed to consider security when hosting an international sports event.
But as we should have learned with the disaster called Cricket World Cup, if you want to play on the world stage your actions will be instantly broadcast around the world – so you had better get it right. Unfortunately, no amount of “Barbados Police get their man” stories about this volleyball tournament incident can ever make up for the original stories that appeared in the Bahamian news media and throughout the Caribbean.
And what about the unrecovered property? Who will pay for that? Who will compensate the team members and supervisors for their lost time at work and disrupted lives?
This is not a story with a happy ending despite the current spin in the Barbados news media.
Our Great Failing As A Society
Bajans (and their successive governments) believe in being reactive, rather than proactive. We seldom act to prevent incidents before they occur – we prefer to clean up afterwards and half the time we can’t get that right. This “doan worry ’til somethin happen” failing has dogged our culture for decades and becomes increasingly worse as our leadership exhibits the same laissez-faire attitude.
I mean, heck – we had to replace a whole fleet of garbage trucks four years early because nobody bothered to change the engine oil as required! Whose fault was that? “Nobody”.
So who of the Barbados Volleyball Association will admit personal responsibiliy for failing to ensure the security of visiting team members during an international tournament? Which person will pay for the losses? Who will resign?
Oh, there will be a press conference where the BVA will announce that they have “reviewed” what happened and “taken action” to ensure that future events are “better secured”… but that may or may not be the truth. It is more likely than not that the “new commitment” will be nothing more than a statement without real follow-up action or ongoing oversight to ensure compliance.
In Barbados, we learn from our Government leaders. We do press conferences and promises very well.
As to taking real action?
Doan mek sport!