Barbados Police Helpless as hundreds of tourists extorted every month by Boscobel road toll gang

Barbados Police Commissioner has ignored road toll gang for five years

Boscobel Road Toll Gang still frightening tourists – Police Commissioner says “Crime stats are down. Don’t worry, be Happy!”

The Boscobel “Road Toll Gang” have been seriously doing their thing for at least five years now. They stop tourist hired cars by standing in front of them. They inform the drivers that the road is closed, instruct them to drive another way and then demand money for the “assistance”.

They are big, nasty men and most of the tourists pay. It is a lucrative business for the gang.

Always seven or eight sitting at the “T” intersection and while one engages the driver in conversation another will sometimes come up behind on the passenger side, reach through an open window to grab a purse or a camera and then run like hell. Sometimes they will even open an unlocked door.

The Royal Barbados Police Force are well aware of this bunch of thieves, but have done nothing except take the reports from the poor tourists who are stupid enough to stop and roll down their windows. The Commissioner doesn’t seem to care and neither do the local officers who have actually been seen on occasion to wave at the gang members as they drive by on patrol.

Hearing that leaves a person kind of gobsmacked, don’t you think?

Commissioner Dottin, Prime Minister Thompson… are you listening to what the tourists are saying?

The leading travel website Trip Advisor has several forums going on the Barbados Boscobel road toll gang where tourists relate some of their stories for others.

Remember folks: this isn’t Barbados Free Press breaking this story. Dozens of tourists have related their experiences at Trip Advisor over the last few years and our police have done nothing. In the new world of the internet Barbados ignores this continuing gang activity at its peril.

Here are a few recent quotes from people in Texas, Ontario and the U.K. as taken from the Trip Advisor website just last week…

Re: Boscobel Road Toll Bandits…..any updates??
Dec 21, 2009, 8:11 AM
Destination Expert for Barbados
“We were unaware of that occurring, but we were actually stopped by them when we drove through that area in October. We wound up giving the guy $10 US and he seemed to be ok with that & we went on our way.

Too bad the police do not crack down on this — the only other time something like this occurred to us was in St. Lucia and we have not been back there since.”

Re: Boscobel Road Toll Bandits…..any updates??
Dec 21, 2009, 8:46 AM
Hi Lois

“so that’s fairly recent. You indicate you were stopped by them. Knowing what you know now, do you think you could have slowed down so as not to run over anyone, yet not stop, thereby avoiding a confrontation?

Also when coming back, if one has run the gauntlet on the way north I wonder, Would they be any more aggressive if they recognize our car?”

Re: Boscobel Road Toll Bandits…..any updates??
Dec 21, 2009, 9:59 AM
“There’s the rub. Even if you avoid them on the way out to North Point you’re going to encounter them on the return. So if they’re mad at you…”

“Another option is to avoid the area, then contact local businesses and authorities and tell them why you will not be spending your dollars in their parish. So far, the police are known to be aware of the situation but have done nothing to stop it. Come to your own conclusions about why that may be so. But clearly, local pressure is the only thing that will end the extortion.”

“Our driver warned us ahead of time to keep the windows up and the doors locked and that he would deal with them, which he did.”

Further Reading at Barbados Free Press

June 17, 2009 Boscobel Road Toll Gang Still Operating Freely In Barbados

September 16, 2008 Barbados Police Helpless In Stopping Boscobel Road Toll Gang

49 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Police, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

49 responses to “Barbados Police Helpless as hundreds of tourists extorted every month by Boscobel road toll gang

  1. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: Road Toll Gang

  2. stabbing the golden goose

    when the guys at the top take potentially millions of dollars through untendered offshore contracts and many government officials take thousands of dollars each month for doing nothing, whats wrong with a little exortion and “tiefing” that kills one of the last businesses that actually attracts foreign currency to our shores?

    Everything!!!

  3. Concerned

    This is silly and does not give me faith in the police.

    Has anyone thought to submit this to crimestoppers barbados?

    I shall be doing so shortly.

  4. Hants

    BFP wrote “hundreds of tourists extorted every month.”

    Hundreds mean 200 or more per month.

    Have you verified these numbers BFP?

  5. Sundowner

    I can’t believe after all this time they are still there! Don’t forget its not only tourist that are stopped, we were stopped with white visitors in our local car.
    The Police are ‘helpless’! how pathetic is that!
    Does this give any faith in our Police Force at all? So much for ‘slogan’ written on the side of the vehicles, I don’t feel protected & reassured do you?

  6. North Point

    They stop two or three dozen cars during a good day because there is no way north to some spots except going by that t intersection. BFP’s estimate of “hundreds” a month is not out of line and might be low.

  7. cq8

    This is big business when you consider the numbers. 10 or 20 cars a day @ US10 is not a small sum to the men who do nothing but sit at the intersection every day. It could be more cars but at least 10 or 20 a day because several hundred cars can go by there on a busy tourist day heading for flower cave etc.

    I wonder if the police waving at the gang is becuase they getting a cut? I’m only asking because it been going on for years so something is keeping it going and that is money.

  8. Hants

    @ North Point

    Time for action. If the Police too busy to deal with them the BDF can.

    This is the kind of thing that can stop Tourists from coming to Barbados.

  9. akabozik

    Hants don’t mind me if I have lost faith in the DLP. I read the first article from 2008 and the first comment is from you! Here what you say:

    Hants
    September 16, 2008 at 6:02 pm
    Given that other DLP supporters and others who care about Barbados are on this blog, this problem will be solved in short time.

    The one thing we do not want is any tolerence for this kind of activity.

    Barbados needs Tourism.

    Then the second article posted in 2009 June there you are again:

    Hants
    June 18, 2009 at 12:05 am
    Call Brasstacks.

    Then a conversation with Jason:

    June 19, 2009 at 2:44 am
    RBPF
    Baton,Taser,nine and pepper spray

    Firepower khaaan dun.

    Boscobel boys better run and hide.

    Jason
    June 19, 2009 at 2:53 am
    Hants, the lack of weapons was not a factor in the police doing nothing with the Boscobel boys in the last few years. Lack of leadership, lack of focus, and lack of an understanding about strategic policing will not be cured by pepper spray and tasers.

    Hants, the DLP is no better than the BLP in looking after the interests of the common person. The Commissioner should have been fired years ago. The BLP politicians who underfunded the police so badly that nobody wants to join RBPF were fired but they were replaced with the same kind of politicians only DLP. Two years later the gang is still there and it is all over the web and google searches thanks to Trip Advisor and the DLP’s failure.

  10. Huh?

    BFP says “Hearing that leaves a person kind of gobsmacked, don’t you think?”

    “gobsmacked” ???

    BFP your roots are showing!

  11. Hants

    @ akabozik

    I am a DLP supporter and I absolutely believe that the DLP is better than the BLP. Nothing will change that in the foreseeable future.

    However, I care about Barbados and this criminal activity at Boscobel must be stopped either by the police or the BDF.

    I hope some of the people connected to the government will read about this and try to get this problem solved before it becomes a major “incident”.

  12. Arthur

    Good to see Bajans talking openly about these things and not covering it up as is the practice in the mainstream press. The police need to nip this in the bud in a sharp and decisive attack on the criminals. See what has become of Jamaica and Trinidad because the officials could not care less.

  13. Hants

    The mainstream press has a story titled “Kinky Bajans”.

    Seems there is a lot of playing under the covers.

  14. Hants

    Read todays Nation.

    Uh wunda who um is dat buying dem tings in da place call Beauty an de beach.

    whaloss. I din know Bajans did into dem kine ah tings.

  15. Sundowner

    Arthur
    ‘Nip it in the bud’ !! have you read this? its been going on for YEARS!

    I agree that the BDF ought to get involved, if they can spend time at Tourist spots which never seem to have any trouble they need to visit some that do, & the Police are obviously not interested. I assume the local Police Station is Bellplaine, not very far away.

  16. Fish Pot

    After five years i think the bud has blossomed. Barbados should be ashamed, as a tourist destination, to allow this to continue. As a proud Bajan living in Canada i am disgusted that this would happen in my beautiful island. Now i have to tell my friends to avoid this area on their visits.Maybe soon i wont have to warn them, because they would be going elsewhere. Get it Barbados Tourist Board?

  17. Hants

    BFP Marcus and Cliverton since wanna live in Barbados, wanna cahn call somebody an tell dum to read wanna article.

    Wanna waiting fuh me to call from up hey?

    Dis Boscobel nonsense got to stop an sense wanna got de evidence,do someting nuh!

  18. BFP

    Hi Hants,

    Members of Parliament, the Police Commissioner and many from the BTA have certainly read about the Boscobel road toll gang many times in the past few years.

    Hants, it’s not a problem that they don’t know.

  19. Ricardo

    How can anyone in an authoritative position in Barbados let this go unattended for so many Years? The way the World economy is today and the tourist industry dropping in numbers, the last thing Barbados needs is potential visitors heading to the Middle East or Cayman Islands for holidays. Jamacia springs to mind when reading these articles. Clean it up Barbados, we can’t afford to let the economy slip even more because of a gang extortionist.

  20. Andrew Hulsmeier

    What we need is some good old vigilantism. Hire a car, go to Boscobelle and (phrase removed by BFP – see below) These bastards can spoil it for all of us on this Island. THEN maybe the police will make a plan or seriously do something.

    ************

    Note from BFP editor: We will allow discussion of the concept of vigilantism but we will NOT allow calls for extra-judicial violence against anyone. That’s our rules, if you don’t like it go somewhere’s else.

    george at BFP

  21. Sundowner

    Andrew
    Great idea, but I think the BDF should be doing it not us!

  22. Hants

    @ Andrew Hulsmeier

    That used to work back in the days when people were chattel and massa was the law.

    There is no place in Barbados for your recommended solution.

    Now I will await for BFP’s response and hope you are sanctioned for such an ourageous comment.

  23. vigilante justice

    Hants

    In the last ten or so years Barbadians have been shot and killed for stealing fruit from a tree or garden and attempting to rob a house simply because the justice system and or the police and courts have failed to take appropriate action in the first instance.

    The police seem to like this solution as they have given up on the courts and their failure to prosecute criminals quickly and efficiently.

    Justice has become instant so its not a question of the old days.

    Sad to say, but AH’s comments are not from the past and may happen if the police refuse to do their jobs and want a bunch of vigilantes to their job for them.

    As someone so aptly put it. The police pretend to do their job and the government pretends to pay them

  24. Avatar Gurl

    Hants…shut the hell up.

    You in flippin’ Canada…whuh you would know ’bout hey?

    Look, if you & your DLP really cared about the people of Barbados, you would catch the ‘teifs’ in the gang AND the Police ‘tiefs’ accociated with them; and put them in JAIL…pure & simple.

    Sanctioned…for protecting our own land? For taking it back form the nasty criminals that make it hard for us to live each day?

    If you DLP, BLP, Police LP and other P’s did your jobs PROPERLY, we wouldn’t even have to go there!

    So stop talking! And start protecting!

    Yuh blasted “educated idiots”…wunna thousand-dollar pieces of paper ain’t give you integrity or common sense, ent it?

  25. WOG

    Is there still a police force on the island …if so what are they doing? First the police is unable or unwilling to enforce the laws and control the wild people driving the public service vans… Only today I read that operators of the same vans are openly smoking dope in the bus stand and joint patrols with the Army is being suggested to combat same ….then there is this lawless group in Boscobel collecting tolls to pass a road while they steal cameras etc and intimidate the occupants of the vehicles ….today they are harassing tourists tomorrow they will be demanding tolls from businesses in the area….and then “protection money” from the residents to prevent their cars & homes from being vandalized\robbed ….Why has the police eliminated this gang ……. what is happening to the tax dollars …today they are extorting tourists. Where is the police ……What is the police doing …if this has been going on for years it stands to reason that these thugs are from the vicinity and\or are known to the residents and police so it shouldn’t be difficult to round them up. Do the residents understand that sooner or later this lawlessness is going to become violent and somebody is going to get injured or killed and with it the reputation of their neighborhood and property values.
    Has anyone in the community confronted these thugs or told the cops who they are and when they operate. Has anybody in the community grabbed a bull-pistle and run these criminals out of their neighborhood. Sounds like there is more going here on than just toll collection…. you mean that this operation has been ongoing for years and no one in the neighborhood nor Police hasn’t so much as raise a fingernail….. Couldn’t happen in my neighborhood.

  26. BFP Cliverton not signed in

    Hello all,

    The moment I sign in from a secure computer I will delete the call for vigilantism. There is no place for that in Barbados and there is no place for such comments at BFP.

    I have to sign in though and that will be a few more hours unless George is around tonight and picks this up.

    George you there?

  27. Hants

    @ Avatar Gurl

    Be nice.

  28. Sundowner

    I still cannot understand why the Police are helpless in this matter, one undercover operation would deal with the problem. Its not like these men are hiding & need to be hunted down & caught, they are there in the same place day after day after day! This should be a simple matter, so what is the problem? are our Police Force frightened to do their jobs?

  29. Andrew Hulsmeier

    COMMENT REMOVED BY BFP EDITOR.

    We do not allow calls for violent vigilantism on this blog. Last warning.

  30. Hants

    @ Andrew Hulsmeier

    I am a BARBADIAN.

    I don’t live all year in Barbados but I spend about 2 months total, 2 or 3 weeks per trip per year.

    My friends and most of my family live in Barbados.I have a right to comment on this situation but will not support your call for vigilantism.

    You call for vigilantism and continue with a veiled threat in the above comment “If I am driving in that area and someone is in the middle of the road to flag me down…watch out!”

    I am now more interested in how BFP will deal with you. Prehaps they are checking with their lawyers to see if they should report your threat to the Police.

    Didn’t they do that when Adrian was under attack by vile racists?

  31. BFP

    Hi Hants,

    We don’t allow threats of violence on this blog and that’s a fact, so we’ll deal with Mr. H.

    As to reporting it to the police, NO, BFP did not report the threats to Adrian Loveridge to the police. Adrian Loveridge did – in writing. Police Commissioner Dottin effectively told him to piss off, the Barbados police aren’t concerned about threats to his kind of person – especially when the threats originated from the computer of a BLP Member of Parliament.

    And that is a fact.

  32. Hants

    Thanks for the clarification BFP.

  33. Andrew Hulsmeier

    Words mean nothing without action of any kind.BFP have to hide behind their identity and God knows they have slandered the whole Island and some. I like what BFP does and its agenda. But tell what have you ever succeeded in. If the government and all its power to make things happen aint making it happen you think you all can. BFP should stand for Barbados Farting Press cus that all you all doing! Iknow you wont submit this comment but what the hell I just farted. Smell good??

  34. Cynty

    Andrew you are a disgrace to Barbados

  35. Hants

    Are you the same Andrew Hulsmeier who wrote this January 2007 ?
    “Shona Thank you very mush for your nice comments.”

    Did you take that great photo on the beach at the Barbados Yacht Club that is posted on the triathalonbarbados website ?

    Interesting. BFP?

  36. iWatchya

    Does anyone remember the robberies and road blocks that took place back in the 90’s?
    At that time it used to happen to the tourists, then the roadblocks started capturing bajans. They got violent and weapons became modus operandi.
    The BDF was brought in with the police force and several people were arrested and there were frequent patrols in the country to disperse the gangs…

    So, are we going to wait for your mother or sister or brother or father to get hurt before something is done?

  37. 36

    Barbados is still a nice place to visit ,but the rbpf can not let a fews bad apples distroy our country

  38. akabozik

    de fish rot from de head and the RBPF leadership is the head. i use the word “leadership” in jest.

  39. Pingback: Government Member Adriel Brathwaite calls for support for Royal Barbados Police. (Okay, Adriel. How much of a salary increase do you propose? Oh… nothing!) « Barbados Free Press

  40. Clearly Bajan

    tee hee hee – I was down there around Christmas and they stopped the car to ask us if we knew where we were going. We answered with a brisk yes and drove along. I thought to myself that they were being helpful because they thought we were tourists!

  41. Ricardo

    Absolute dirt bags, they have tried to terrorise me and my wife for years. We visit our family in Boscobelle and have been for a long time. Only 3 years ago when my wifes Grandmother was slowly dying (painfully). Our visits where made difficult, daytime and evening visits were a stressfull event, caused by these idiots. At this horrible junction the large fat man and his friends stood in front of our car, hoping to slow us down and no doubt rob us. To his and there very Great surprise, I put the pedal to the metal, 60mph straight at him, he soon changed his mind and kindly launched himself into the roadside ditch. hahahahah, so fantastically funny (were he belongs). They are now getting to know us and only recently made way for us on our approach. They need to learn and be taught that robbing decent people will land them in the ditch or local graveyard, real soon. IDIOTS BEWARE !!!

  42. Pingback: Barbados Prime Minister emails Canadian tourist: “(Boscobel Road Toll Gang) has been investigated… I have received no other negative reports” « Barbados Free Press

  43. Jack Bowman

    Update: event on 17 August 2010.

    Dear BFP Folks,

    For several years I’ve read your occasional pieces about the Boscobel toll gang as really good campaigning journalism—precisely the kind of journalism that this country is gasping for. But I have to concede at the outset that I also read them as something of an abstraction, something that didn’t have much to do with me or mine.

    That changed last week when I finally encountered the gang. To jump to the end: nothing very bad happened; it was simply a little alarming. But without doubt it would have been much worse if you hadn’t been writing your stuff.

    The set-up …

    I was giving a couple of guests from overseas my patented island tour. The guests: a middle-age guy and his twelve year-old son. It was their first visit to Barbados, and their first full day on the island. Unbelievably, we got lost on the way to Bathsheba (I say “unbelievably” because all the signage is perfect up there, and all the maps are completely accurate and highly detailed, and I’m strongly against irony in any form).

    The event …

    Lost and wandering in the car, driving along labyrinthine byways, we came upon the wonderful world of Boscobel. I was slowing the car to move round a bend (windows up, air conditioning on) when a gentleman at the side of the road began making urgent hand gestures and talking to me.

    I put my foot on the brake for one second, probably only half a second, before a little alarm bell started ringing in the back of my brain. It took another microsecond for me to connect the alarm bell to some stuff I’d read on BFP several months ago, and to connect that to the word “Boscobel”.

    So immediately I understood the situation. I ignored the guy and drove on, still lost. And a minute later we came round a corner and there all the gentlemen were, the whole crew in one place. Six to eight guys, some leaning against a car on one side of the road, the others sitting on the other side of the road. None of them looking like they had major career plans and went to church every Sunday.

    I saw them, they saw us, and they all got up and started moving towards the middle of the road. I said “problem”. The kid in the back seat of the car got frightened. I put my foot on the accelerator.

    I’ve never been so happy to hear my car go through its revs. The car moved fast, the engine revved loud, and instinctively the gentlemen moved back to the sides of the road. I drove through the space between them. It was a little Moses-and-the-Red-Sea moment.

    The lessons …

    Several things to be said in this regard, but two are particularly important.

    First, anybody who tells you that this gang is no longer operational is simply lying straight to your face. Probably we all make different decisions about what kind of politicians we want and what kind of police officers we’d like to have. Your opinion might differ from mine. Speaking entirely for myself, I can say with certainty that I don’t want my politicians and police officers telling me that water isn’t wet. I don’t want them lying straight to my face.

    Second, if I hadn’t read BFP’s several articles about these gentlemen in Boscobel, it’s a near certainty that I would have stopped the car when I encountered the first guy. It’s almost a natural instinct to stop a car if a pedestrian at the side of the road is making frantic hand gestures. So I want to give a huge round of applause to the Barbados Free Press folks in this regard.

    The simple fact that I had read a couple of items on BFP over many months definitely made a difference. It meant that I didn’t get intimidated. It meant that three people didn’t get robbed. And it meant that a twelve year-old visitor didn’t go home and tell all his friends (who would have told their parents) that Barbados is a nasty place with nasty people.

    That would have been a calamity, because the reality is so utterly different. This island is full from coast to coast with some of the most courteous, civil, politely reserved and well-meaning people that any tourist could hope to meet anywhere on this planet.

    Major kudos to BFP, in my view. That was a genuine public service you provided with your pieces about the Boscobel gang. Saved my bacon. Very sincere thanks.

  44. Pingback: Boscobel toll gang still extorting tourists. Barbados police helpless. « Barbados Free Press

  45. Pingback: Dear Commissioner Dottin: About those internet “rumours” of Barbados Police corruption and incompetence… « Barbados Free Press

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  48. Anonymous

    I am from that area and if you tell them you don’t have anything for them they don’t do shit we should think how to help these guys than cry them down, the press should go an talk to them and spend a few hours and see if they are that bad

  49. Pingback: New TripAdvisor discussion forum – Boscobel Toll Gang still frightening tourists with demands for money | Barbados Free Press