Guilty plea in killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld raises official hopes that the story will now go away

Murdered Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld

Curtis Joel Foster 25, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Barbados High Court on Wednesday, January 20, 2010. He will be sentenced on February 17th next. ( news here)

Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld was walking at Long Beach at the south coast on February 28, 2009 with her daughter-in-law when Foster attacked and robbed them in broad daylight. When the women resisted, Foster used a piece of wood to club them. Mrs. Schwarzfeld never recovered from her head injuries and died in Canada after she was flown back in a coma.

On the surface this brings some small resolution for the victim’s family and friends, but as much as the word “closure” is thrown around by the news media, we know that the people who loved Terry Schwarzfeld will never forget the circumstances of her passing. Good Bajans everywhere offer their sympathies and regrets and pray that her family and friends will not be lacking in strength and support.

Tourist Murder happened after police ignored a year of robberies and rapes at Long Beach

As much as everyone now regrets the murder of Terry Schwarzfeld, it turns out that a blind man on a fast horse could have seen months in advance what was eventually going to happen to some poor soul at Long Beach.

The Royal Barbados Police Force had to admit publicly that the organisation failed to note the violent crime rampage against tourists at Long Beach for over a year preceding the murder. Long Beach was a robbery and rape “hot spot”, but we Bajans and the tourists were never warned. Neither was there a coordinated police response to stop the attacks.

It turns out that the Commissioner of Police failed to appoint staff to record and analyze crime types and locations to note “hot spots” so that sufficient police resources could be assigned to protect the public or to arrest Curtis Joel Foster and stop his reign of terror. It took the murder of a tourist before anyone paid attention, and even then the police, the government and the Bajan news media initially went into their standard “cover-up” mode that happens when a tourist is attacked. (See BFP’s article Ottawa Citizen Newspaper, National Canadian Coverage: “Bajan Media Ignores Attack On Women. Feisty Barbados Free Press Only Outlet To Speak Out For Schwarzfeld”)

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

Locating crime hot spots and detailing sufficient officers to protect the public and arrest the culprits is not rocket science, ya know.

As we’ve seen in countless television shows: the police put a big map of the area on the wall. When there is a robbery or violent crime, the officer puts a pin into the map at the location. The colour of the pin tells the type of crime. Then the officer says, “OH! Look at all the pins at Long Beach over the last few months. Rape, robbery, assault. I guess we’d better have a closer look.” Then the officer reads the descriptions of the culprits as given by the victims, notes the time and day of the week and other circumstances and says, “Hey, this looks like one guy is doing this, does his attacks late in the afternoon against lone women tourists at Long Beach. I guess we’d better watch the place or dress up a female police officer like a tourist, have her partners remain hidden and see if we can arrest this man before he kills somebody.”

The police don’t even have to use a fancy computer program, just pins on a map. If our police want a fancy program to map out the crimes, they might want to try using Google Maps for free as many other police forces do. It is really disgusting that Google offers a solution that could have saved Mrs. Schwarzfeld. But, hey – Commissioner Dottin didn’t see fit to put up an ordinary map and some pins on the wall so ya can’t really expect him to be knowledgeable ’bout something as sophisticated as Google Maps that children use to assist them with their school geography projects.

“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 the Royal Barbados Police Force to have the dynamic leadership and resources that it needs to protect Barbadians, our visitors and our economy. It is time for our government to realize that policing and public safety are more important to our economy than our beaches. It is also time for Commissioner Dottin to do the honourable thing.”

Further Reading

For more background on the year of violent crime at Long Beach and crime statistics, check out BFP’s article Barbados Advocate Covers Up Police Failure To Respond To Theft, Gunshots At Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

BFP articles about Policing and the Terry Schwarzfeld Murder

October 12, 2009: Police urge Bajans to not walk alone in secluded areas, be wary of strangers approaching your home

September 7, 2009: Terry Schwarzfeld Tourist Murder: Preliminary Hearing Begins against accused Curtis Joel Foster

August 30, 2009: Murdered Canadian Tourist Terry Schwarzfeld Called “White Trash” – Senior Advisor to Barbados Prime Minister Publishes Articles on Same Racist Website!

June 29, 2009: British Tourist Shot, Robbed Near Sandy Lane Resort Barbados On June 4, 2009 – Victim Alleges Silence By Barbados News Media, Hotel, Tourism Authorities

March 23, 2009: Arrest In Terry Schwarzfeld Barbados Tourist Murder – But Can We Trust Our Police?

March 19, 2009: Barbados Tourist Attack Now Murder: Canadian Victim Terry Schwarzfeld Dies In Ottawa

March 9, 2009: Ottawa Citizen Newspaper, National Canadian Coverage: “Bajan Media Ignores Attack On Women. Feisty Barbados Free Press Only Outlet To Speak Out For Schwarzfeld”

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

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, Crime & Law, Police

18 responses to “Guilty plea in killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld raises official hopes that the story will now go away

  1. I feel that I could never say enough about this tragic, senseless lost of life

    Tribute to Terry Schwarzfeld
    A Tourist to our Country

    Traumatized by the attack, Bajans weep
    Enraged while awake and restless at sleep
    Regretting that any Bajan could be so brutal
    Remorseful by the loss of someone so charitable
    Years were just 60 when her life was bludgeoned away

    She was taking a walk with her daughter-in-law on that day
    Cold-hearted thief attacked her while on the beach
    Hunk of wood was the closest thing in his reach
    Women’s Rights were her devotion and now cruelly
    A Bajan criminal took hers and her dedication to philanthropy
    Robbed her of her future deeds and the world of her good
    Zapped away this valuable life just because he could
    For years she was active in the Israeli Women’s Rights fight
    Elected recently as President of the Hadassah-WIZO website
    Lots of people benefited and were to, from her life of charity
    Dear world we civilized Bajans abhor her demise and offer our sympathy

    The Long Beach Walk
    The people of Barbados wish to express
    How horrified they are by this callous thoughtlessness
    Empathize with friends and family for this tragic lost

    Lawless theft for expendables have dealt immeasurable cost
    Our people are known for love of community
    Neighborliness and unmatched hospitality
    General respect for the law pertaining to tourists

    Bajans have always welcomed visitors with warm friendliness
    Every stone will be turned until the assailant is found
    And the police guarantees they’ll work like the relentless hound
    Combing every lead for this villainous murderer
    He destroyed a family, our country and her recipients all over
    We’ve taken great measure to deter and restrain
    And to prevent such a dastardly feat from happening again
    Long beach walks should be encourage for their tranquility
    Keener vigilance will ensure our peoples’ and visitors’ safety

  2. Comehere

    “…Eight prior convictions, the last 5 of which were for robbing tourists…” Manslaughter? He’s SORRY? This was MURDER, plain and simple. He killed a woman. This serial criminal should never see freedom. He’s a rabid animal who will attack again if let out of his cage.

  3. twwifos

    Was walking on Long Beach yesterday and saw the first police patrol that I’ve seen in months. I wonder if the two are related? We saw a lot of talk about changing things right after the murder, but I have not noticed anything. It has been pretty quiet since this happened, so maybe things are actually getting done behind the scenes. Hard to tell. I continue to walk on Long Beach several times a week and never had any problems.

  4. Hope Springs Eternal

    It seems to me that a deal was cut for this defendant to plead guilty in exchange for a manslaughter verdict. While I am glad that this brutal criminal is off the streets and will serve a lengthy jail term, he should have been found guilty of murder. Elsewhere in the world if you kill someone in the commission of a robbery, it is a felony and the charge is murder. I can only wonder why the prosecutors felt it necessary to cut a deal.

  5. BDS Royal police deserve a “royal” dressing down without a doubt. I wonder if any of the earlier victims during the previous 5 months had been related to members of the BLP or the DLP if this would have never happened?
    Terry was a most gracious and generous individual in her hometown of Ottawa. She volunteered her time to help those less fortunate and made peoples lives better in the process.
    The world needs people like her.
    She is missed.

  6. manslaughter?

    How on earth did the justice system reduce this to a manslaughter charge? Could someone explain?

    The accussed with a history of robbing tourists, intentionally took a piece of wood to club her into submission. Isn’t this Murder one or two?

  7. Dottin a victim

    Commissioner Dottin has done the best he can with the poor tools he is given by the politicians. The budget doesn’t allow him to pay a living wage to RBPF officers. No money for training, education, attending conferences to boost professionalism. No money for decent uniforms and equipment. Officers having to use their own cars and trucks for patrol because police vehicles are broken and no money to fix them. Don’t blame Dottin for 20 years of neglect by the government.

  8. Young Adult

    Although i as well do believe that this man should be put in jail with the key thrown away for murdering the visitor i can “understand” (though not agree) how it could have been reduced to manslaughter. It could have been argued that when the accused approached the tourist to rob them of their money, this is all he intended to do. I believe (correct me if i am wrong) that with murder its premeditated as in he would have decided that he was going to murder the lady and her daughter and rob them on their money. As his intention only was to rob them, killing them was not in mind. It was only after they “fought back” that he decided to take a club and struck the lady on the head.
    Therefore as he did not intentionally kill the lady, it was reduced to manslaughter….i dunno, just a thought.
    But like i said he deserve the murder sentence not only for what he did but how it might have affected tourism in our country on a whole

  9. peltdownman

    The “kiss a killer” lawyers and politicians have decided that all a killer has to do is say that he “didn’t mean” to kill the victim, and he gets off with manslaughter. It is quite plainly the most ludicrous piece of legislation. A robber carrying a loaded gun to a robbery can only have one intent in mind, and that he will use the gun if he has to. After he kills the victim, he can say he didn’t mean it, and “that’s okay, g’long!”

  10. John

    Very conveinient to admit to everything, a plea bargain of manslaughter means the police don’t have to look any further or do any actual work except drive about.

  11. JO

    As being half bajan(born in England) encouraging all my friends, colleagues & in-law family to visit the island I am totally disgusted and feel sympathy/empathy with the family of the poor lady that lost her life.

    Don’t know why I bother to write this cos it will probably not be published as soon to be is that the whole world will know that BARBADOS only prints all the glossy, All Inclusive, celebrity photos, golf, most expensive restaurants & hotels to all the rich that you want to attract to get your tourism to keep the island going.

    Is it just me, but what has happened to the thugs that continue to pester and intimadate and even attack tourists/maybe locals at the T-junction at Boscobelle.

    BARBADOS – as ignorant & arrogant some people may be, we are all aware – NOW – sadly that your country does hide the truth in order to keep up tourism.

    I found it quite disturbing that an English young adult had lost his life in Barbados on the West Coast in I think a villa that his mother and father had rented. I believe there was not much mention in/if at all any of the newspapers in Barbados. I could not even begin to imagine ho the parents of that young boy felt, even after he too tried to dis arm the culprit and believe to protect his father.

    BARBADOS – What is the problem with telling the truth and then correct any faults.
    Carry on lying & lose many tourists. I have two friends already, with children that will not visit as 1. they want to explore the island on their own
    2. want to be able to go out & visit the Scotland District, Bathsheba, Foul Bay & Miami Beach.
    3.Go on a safari??????
    Are they safe?

    I would appreciate if this gets published as it is free press and I did not see my Boscobell article.

  12. Pingback: Curtis Joel Foster to be sentenced today in murder of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld « Barbados Free Press

  13. Pingback: Curtis Joel Foster sentencing UPDATE. Killer was supposed to appear February 18th « Barbados Free Press

  14. Crusoe

    I would suggest that there has been a misunderstanding of the interpretation of ‘intent’ in this scenario.

    Commonly (yes, our law is based on common law), manslaughter is reserved for cases such as where one is driving recklessly, hits someone without any intention to hit, injure or kill, at all but kills inadvertently.

    The important issue is that there was not even an intent ‘to do harm’, at all.

    The fact that the killing occurred within a robbery is irrelevant, the fact is that at the moment the robber raised a club to hit the woman, he intended to do physical harm to said woman.

    The ‘intent’ at physical injury was there, WHATEVER THAT INJURY TURNED OUT TO BE, which was death.

    There is no doubt that the ‘mens rea’ was present.

    This case was mis-interpreted and the decision errs.

    Nevertheless, be assured that the precedence now exists, that if, for example, one shoots someone say, in the leg, and they bleed to death, whether civilian or policeman, there is now a precedent that one may argue, that one did not ‘intend’ to kill but only to chase away or hurt.

    But, do not quote me on that, or the CCJ may actually deal correctly with such a case.

    Poor, really poor.

  15. BFP

    Hi Crusoe

    There’s no “misunderstanding” – the Public Prosecutor offered the murdering bastard a deal to spare Barbados the embarrassment of a full blown trial that show how negligent the Bajan authorities were over the course of an entire year.

  16. Pingback: UPDATE: Curtis Joel Foster will be sentenced Monday, March 22, 2010 in murder of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld « Barbados Free Press

  17. Pingback: Canadian news media reports “outrage” at tourist killer’s sentence. Schwarzfeld family says “Sentence made no sense.” « Barbados Free Press

  18. Pingback: Horror at Long Beach – another dog tortured to death | Barbados Free Press