Two serious incidents in a few weeks does not make for an epidemic of violence against tourists – but one must be concerned to look at all the foreign press stories over the past two years of tourists returning home from Barbados with tales of thefts, gun-point robberies, bus accidents and other bad vacation experiences.
And the news stories don’t stop at just reporting the crimes. Invariably the victims also recount unprofessional police officers, uncaring tourism workers, ambulances that never arrive or the state of the run-down slum that passes for our Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Violent crimes against tourists damage our reputation not just because of the crimes – but also because victims are then confronted with sub-standard emergency services and the limitations of our crumbling infrastructure.
Our so-called leaders have failed to fund and develop a professional police force. They have failed to maintain the quality of our environment and tourism offerings. They embraced every get-rich-quick scheme or new tourism trend and in so doing ignored what is important to the core of our economy. Oh… Cricket World Cup was going to save us. Then it was health tourism, and when that didn’t work it was sports tourism, faith tourism, history tourism and tourists from China, India or Brazil.
While the big shots padded their overseas bank accounts and retired to Canada or Switzerland, domination of the hotel sector by the Government of Barbados undermined independent owners to the point where investors gave up building new room stock on the island.
And so it is that another story of another tourist couple robbed at gunpoint has implications far beyond the crime itself.
Why is it that the vision of what must be done to save Barbados is so clear to ordinary Bajans, but seems beyond imagination to our glorious leaders?
Read it and weep… Continue reading