Tourism Matters: More Barbados tourists robbed on the beach in daylight

Reassuring words from the police mean little on TripAdvisor and Facebook

by Adrian Loveridge - Small hotel owner

If I had to name one single issue that could seriously endanger our most important industry, it would be any breakdown in our overall ability to keep our visitors safe and secure.

Sadly, it seems that a few of our policymakers, both in tourism and those involved in national security believe that by keeping crime against tourists out of the local media, no-one is going to hear about it.

What they do not appear to comprehend is that with the internet, social media and the increasingly popular blogs, it’s almost impossible to keep anything secret.

The days of playing ostrich are gone!

Daily, past victims of crime, their relatives, international media, previous visitors and potentially new ones all visit these sites.

It was alarming to recently log onto the Barbados Forum section of the world’s largest travel reference site, TripAdvisor, and see that of the first 20 topics listed, three were crime related.

Government is about to embark on spending a reported BDS$6 million in our largest single market, the United Kingdom, to stimulate forward bookings. More negative headlines like ‘Dream holiday to Barbados that turned into a nightmare after barrister was shot by robber’ in mass circulation publications could seriously diminish the effectiveness of that marketing spend.

We boast that we are one of the safest islands in the Caribbean, but there is absolutely no room for complacency or lack of diligence.

Yes! We can all play our part in cautioning our cherished guests not to visit certain known problem locations, but is this the solution?

So where do you draw the line?

Long Beach area has been a particularly troublesome area over the last two years, and many would claim longer, but two of our guests were robbed on Silver Sands beach last week. In broad daylight and just yards from another hotel!

Do we wait until the problem continues up to Enterprise, Needham’s Point or ultimately Brandon’s?

We talk about improving service levels and the quality of our accommodation plant, but this will all be in vain, unless what appears to be an escalating and widespread concern is firmly dealt with.

I am sure that some readers will accuse me of alarmism, but it goes way beyond that. Even our small hotel now spends more on security annually than we do on promoting our property.

If this is even remotely typical across the sector, this cannot be in the best national interest. We also strongly feel that it is morally wrong to put our guests in ‘harms way’ and unless there is someway we can effectively influence the ability to protect them, the only other alternative is to close the hotel.

I would like to end this column with some direct quotes from the Sustainable Tourism website.

‘Perceived or real threats to visitor safety have immediate impacts on a destinations reputation and can dramatically affect visitation’.

And ‘If a visitor feels threatened or unsafe during a trip this may impact on length of stay and expenditure in a destination and decrease the likelihood of repeat visitation and word-of-mouth referrals’.

Further Reading

Barbados Most Wanted

20 Comments

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

20 responses to “Tourism Matters: More Barbados tourists robbed on the beach in daylight

  1. Anonymouse Not By Choice

    Adrian, first let me say that I admire your fortitude and steadfastness in telling it like it is despite the many misguided and insincere detractors you have. I admire your courage living in a country where no matter how many years you have been a contributing member of that country your views and expert opinion are rejected outright. I can say this with experience as a former resident and business person of Barbados.
    It doesn’t matter how beautiful the beaches and climate or how wonderful the accommodation, food and entertainment, if tourists do not feel safe. Safety is a big concern for those traveling to foreign destinations. Recent crimes against tourists in Barbados travel the internet like wildfire and it is time the BTA, RBPF and the government took their heads out of the sand if they want Barbados to survive these hard economic times.

  2. “The days of playing ostrich are gone!”
    I couldn’t agree more, Adrian. Thanks for shedding light on this.
    The powers that be in Barbados need to know there is no way in this electronic age to cover up incidents such as the recent one on Silver Sands beach.
    One of the first questions asked by friends who know I travel solo to Barbados is often, “Do you think it is safe?” In the past I have always said “Yes”. I’m not so sure I can do that in good conscience any longer without qualification.

  3. Responder

    I will always say this. If you have a justice system that seemingly give slaps on the wrist to criminals, they will continue to prey on our society. Not just tourists, but you and me. Hard measures are needed. For aggravated assault, robbery, or rape on a tourist or citizen, 25 years in prison minimum. for death, life imprisonment. Stop this bleeding hearts mentality that gives the criminal more rights that us law- abiding citizens. Do the crime, do the time.

  4. observer

    Do you ever read the local newspapers. The people of power who are responsible for setting positive examples are out grabbing and stealing. Look at the government ministers; look at the lawyers who take people’s monies and abscond with it. Look at the dialogue with ministers literally drunk on stage as they speak at political meetings. Look at the CLICO fiasco. How many times do you hear of ministers getting money under the table. You (the privilege ones)have set up a society where it is ok to commit crimes and break the law. Don’t get upset when the poor and average person do the same as you have taught them well. You rob society; they only crime is to rob the tourist. Look first at yourself.

  5. Responder

    You go Observer. Tell it like it is.

  6. robbed

    Pebbles beach is a long way from Silver Sands…..I have seen two robbery incidents there in the last 24 months…one where I was the victim. It is getting to be sad state of affairs when people justify violence against tourists beacuse of Clico. Something badly missing in that logic.

  7. Responder

    Let me say ‘Robbed’ that i am sorry you were a victim of crime. I believe what Observer is trying to say that some people- and a disturbing amount, in this society responsible for law and order and justice, are making a mockery of it.
    What do we expect, not ‘lead by example?’, ‘do as i say and not what i do’ bullshit?. I know the problem is far reaching and perhaps more profound, but i say if these people can’t take care of us, then we will have to care of ourselves. do you know what i am trying to say? I am tired of being a victim, and i am sure you are too.

  8. Johhny from Sin Michael

    My problem with the crime issue is that if a potential victim fights back and puts serious blows or shoots a criminal dead, the law one to charge that victim1!

    And this is not just Barbados, this happens in the UK. Recently, an old farmer was jailed after defending himself against two young burglars.

    Absolutely ridiculous and pandering to scum.

    The only solution then is to defend oneself and not report it? Deny ever seeing the aggressor? Why open oneself to charges???

    Unfortunately it looks to be the only solution.

    Reminds me of a scenario many years ago here, where a west coast district was being robbed regularly. One day a body was founf shot dead in the road. No one heard a thing!!! They wewre all sleeping.

    Apparently the robberies stopped after that!

  9. 84

    Not to bad-talk de man now he dead en gone but..
    I was quite agog when I heard D.Thompson say
    “We are not an enforcement society” on TV one night.

    Helloooo?
    That means,logically, we are headed into anarchy ultimately
    following Trinidad, who follows Jamaica, who follows Haiti!
    Cute, huh?
    Isn’t that a nice future to contemplate for our nation?

  10. robbed

    Responder, I understand what you are saying but there should be no attempt to justify violent crimes against tourists becasue of Clico. Simply a bad comparison without logic. If you all want to get Clico cleaned up and accoutable, then get the FBI involved in seizing those properties in Florida, but taking it our on tourists instead of those you should be pursuing will bite you even harder than you have been bitten. The tourists wont be coming much longer with this kind of attitude.

  11. 84

    I keep saying that crimes against visitors should carry penalties way more serious than crimes against non-visitors.
    Unfair? Who cares!
    How unfair is it that just a few careless local jackasses can screw it up for the rest of us?
    with 1% Bad Apples spoiling the tourism show
    for the 99% rest of us on the island!

    –JAIL, one time! for the slightest antisocial actions against visitors!

    We going to wait til wunnuh ketchin real ass
    then to close the stable door -after de horse done run, long time!?
    but that’s how we see ahead, think ahead act ahead!
    Makes a lotta sense, nuh?

    Reputations take awhile to build up -and mere seconds to fling asunder
    usually by some FOOL! like the anti-social fools who are nightly vandalising the S.Coast boardwalk, knocking down signs, etc!

  12. Responder

    I would truly like to hear what our esteem Attorney General is saying about all this. It is sickening to hear and see as Anonymous said all takes is one or a few jackasses to screw it up. Robbed you made a good point and perhaps we need to ask our AG ‘When are you going to take a serious stance against these criminals’. Stop this bleeding heart foolishness and get tough.

  13. tourist

    A taxi driver physically assaulted me and stole my Blackberry 3 weeks ago in the gap. I got it back because another tourist in the van payed her to buy it back – that is on top of the fare I had already paid.
    When i went to the police to report it the officer behind the desk said why didn’t I hire a car? Only in Barbados!

  14. CarlUK

    I and my wife have been visiting Barbados yearly since 2004.Although i admit our first trip we were wide eyed and excited about holidaying outside Europe we still kept our wits about us.So far we have yet to experience any threat to ourselves and hope it stays that way for many visits to come.I have read stories on such sites and ,although alarmed by such events, i still feel relatively safe.Infuriating that the criminal actions of a few get more recognition than the brilliance of the majority.

  15. Responder

    You know it is silly season when our judicial officials give persons having illegal weapons 3 to 5 years imprisonment, or so much fine. These criminals laugh at us, tourist and all, bragging about doing little time in prison and paying the fines in cash on the spot, coming out heroes, to rob again. What happened to the severe punishment for persons having illegal weapons that was promised to us.

    So we pretend what a caring and wonderful society that we are, playing aristocrats, when we can’t even protect our tourist and citizens from this madness. What will it take, You so called aristocrats becoming victims?.

  16. OrlandoC

    Born in the UK and having family in Bim I’ve been a regular visitor for the past 35 years. Crime has always existed in Bim and to be truthful seems to mirror that in the UK whilst lagging behind slightly. Last year I brought a party of 40 people to Barbados for a wedding – everyone had a great time – apart from the couple robbed at cutlass point on Accra Bank on their last night. To some extent I thought they brought it on themselves – use the cash point opposite the Reggae Lounge (In my opinion a modern day pirates’ den), carry mobiles and cameras and cross the beach? But I was less impressed with the police action taken. Most crime is committed by a few individuals -catcht and come down hard on these rogues. Lets see police on the beat and on bikes not hiding in their cars.

  17. tourist

    Never underestimate the power of the internet.
    More tourists should log on to sites like Tripadvisor.com and warn others as it’s a waste of time reporting anything to the police.
    There are plenty of other islands where you can carry a mobile or a camera and not worry about being mugged in daylight.

  18. Responder

    Tourist, i pray and hope that not just our police force, but more importantly our Magistrates and Judges wake up and smell the coffee that criminals don’t give a hoot about your amnesty principles and giving another chance for serious crimes foolishness. What criminals will understand is 25 years to life imprisonment for committing crimes against tourists and citizens of this country. I don’t know about you Judiciary, i believe tourism puts money on the table for Barbados or do you think that only borrowing money does.

  19. tourist too

    @tourist……gimme the taxi licence plate nuh

  20. tourist

    Tourist too
    I’m not sure if the rules of the site would allow me to give you the licence number but suffice to say that there probably isn’t many butch gay lady taxi drivers with a white van who operate in St Lawrence Gap.