Tag Archives: Terry Schwarzfeld

Canadian news media reports “outrage” at tourist killer’s sentence. Schwarzfeld family says “Sentence made no sense.”

Canadians still following the Terry Schwarzfeld story

Adrian Loveridge interviewed by Ottawa Citizen

The sentencing of Curtis Joel Foster in the killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld and the subsequent appeal by the Barbados Director of Public Prosecutions continues to be news in Canada.

The Ottawa Citizen published a weekend article Barbados sentence ‘unduly lenient’ as did the CanWest news agency in papers across Canada. The Canadian press interviewed Schwarzfeld’s sister, Joan Schwarzfeld, and hotelier Adrian Loveridge, who chairs the safety and security committee of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association.

Former Attorney General Dale Marshall – Embarrassing

As well, the Ottawa Citizen focused upon the idiotic (our description) comments of former Attorney General Dale Marshall – who is quoted as saying that Foster’s sentencing should have no impact on tourism from Canada.

Judging by the articles in the Canadian press and the comments online from both Canadians and Bajans, Dale Marshall is totally out of touch with his constituents and the rest of the world on the danger to our tourism industry if Barbados is perceived to be uncaring or soft on violence against visitors and citizens.

Prospective tourists can get over the fact that a visitor was murdered while strolling on a beach in broad daylight – provided they believe it was an isolated incident and that Barbados citizens and our government and courts responded appropriately.

In our opinion, Canadians still believe that Barbados is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world – and rightly so, because Barbados still provides about as safe a vacation as can be had anywhere.

Where Barbados fell down in this case was in the initial response and incident handling, and also in our government’s poor treatment of the victims’ families who were ignored and kept in the dark throughout the process.

Court dates were set, decisions and deals were made and actions were taken by the DPP, the police and the government without basic courtesy or concern for informing the victims’ families. Often there was not even a phone call or an email to inform family members as to an important event as the case processed through our courts. The Schwarzfeld family told the Canadian press that they were not being informed of important developments by the Barbados authorities. Like everyone else, they mostly heard about the deals and delays through the news media or this blog.

Where did the law stop and politics begin?

The decision to not proceed on the murder charge against Foster may have been properly taken according to the best legal advice – but there is also a suspicion in Canada, Barbados and elsewhere that the government simply wanted to avoid the drawn-out publicity a lengthy murder trial. Undoubtedly the failure of our Royal Barbados Police Force to note and address Curtis Joel Foster’s long series of violent crimes against tourists at Long Beach would have been a central issue in any trial.

So the prosecution offered a deal and asked for 16 to 20 years. To the utter amazement of everyone, the judge gave 10 years – proving that Dale Marshall has at least one other neighbour on whatever different planet he lives on.

Had Foster received what Bajans and Canadians consider a reasonable sentence in all the circumstances, the government of Barbados would have happily seen this case fade from the public eye with the average tourist believing that justice was done. That is not to be though.

Two Lessons for Barbados

There are two main lessons that Barbados should take away from this unhappy event. Firstly, we failed to do our best to protect visitors and citizens against a known threat at a specific location. As we mentioned in our article Guilty plea in killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld raises official hopes that the story will now go away, that was basically a police leadership and competence problem that is as yet unresolved.

Secondly, we failed the family and friends of Terry Schwarzfeld and her daughter-in-law Lauana Cotsman by failing to keep them informed about court dates and decisions in the prosecution of the person who killed their loved one. Oh, our government and politicians were good for a couple of weeks after the murder, but then it all fell apart in the long run because we have no real plan or crisis handling team in place for incidents involving foreign visitors. We wing it every time with no checklist and no institutional memory of what went right or wrong last time.

This is part of a larger problem that our government shares with our news media: in a crisis we prefer cover-ups instead of acknowledging problems and implementing proper responses. We used to be able to operate like this because the government could control the flow of information both locally and abroad.

That was before YouTube and a camera in every mobile phone. That was before instant messaging, blogs, FaceBook and personal websites. That was before TripAdvisor and a host of other travel websites and forums.

We don’t seem to learn the lessons we need to. Six months after the Schwarzfeld beach murder, the British press reported British Tourist Shot, Robbed Near Sandy Lane Resort Barbados On June 4, 2009 – Victim Alleges Silence By Barbados News Media, Hotel, Tourism Authorities.

I am surprised and disappointed that as a country that relies almost exclusively upon tourism for our economy, Barbados has no crisis handling team or plan for the long term management of situations involving foreign visitors. If we did have proper management in place, members of the Schwarzfeld family would not be telling their fellow Canadians that Barbados did not care enough to keep them informed about important developments surrounding the death of their loved one.

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Barbados Prosecutor appeals tourist killer’s ten year sentence: “unduly lenient, does not reflect public concern…”

Barbados Director of Public Prosecutions, Charles Leacock, says that the 10-year sentence handed out to Curtis Joel Foster for the killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld is inadequate. The prosecution had asked for a 16 to 20 year sentence on a plea to manslaughter rather than the original murder charge.

A formal appeal has been filed because, unlike former Attorney General Dale Marshall, DPP Leacock recognizes that the light 10 year sentence “does not reflect the gravity of the offence” and “does not reflect the public’s concern about offences of this nature.”

Too right!

Further Reading

The Nation: Not Enough

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Former Barbados Attorney General to Canadians: It’s none of your business how we punish Schwarzfeld’s killer – You’ll still come here for vacations anyway

“What we have to do, from the very beginning, is respect other people’s judicial system,”

“The country has had incidents like this before, and our tourism product has withstood them. Besides, when a judge makes a decision, Barbados’ tourism product is completely extraneous to that decision…”

Former Barbados Attorney General (and sometimes punching bag) Dale Marshall gives a lesson to Canadians as he talks about foreign criticism surrounding the sentencing of a tourist-killer.

Empathy? Sympathy? Public Relations in the real world? – Dale Marshall hasn’t a clue

Dale Marshall, former Attorney General under the defeated BLP government has a message for Canadians who are critical of the 10 year sentence given to the killer of Terry Schwarzfeld: Hey Canadians: None of your business, and whatever you think it won’t impact Canadian tourism in Barbados anyway.

Yup. That pretty well sums up what Dale Marshall said to The Nation when asked to comment upon the fact that some of the Canadian newspapers are critical of the 10 year sentence handed out by Justice Worrell to the killer of tourist Terry Schwarzfeld.

A pity that Marshall didn’t say something politic like, “I am unable to comment on the particular sentence, but all Bajans grieve what happened to Terry Schwarzfeld. We were shocked at this terrible crime and we ask our Canadian friends to remember that this was done by a single individual with a history of anti-social behaviour against others. We are grateful to the personnel of the Royal Barbados Police Force who worked long and hard to arrest Curtis Joel Foster and bring him to justice. Once again, our sincere condolences to the family of Terry Schwarzfeld. I never had the opportunity of meeting this remarkable person, but it is obvious that she is sorely missed by her family, her friends and her community.”


Nope. Marshall couldn’t say something appropriate. He just had to give the Canadians a lesson in respecting the independence of the Bajan courts that was the equivalent of “bugger off”.

Freaking idiot.

Marshall never was very media-capable. When US authorities took down the builders of Barbados’ new prison – Alaska-based VECO – for decades of corruption and paying off politicians in exchange for contracts, Marshall met with VECO officials for 30 minutes and then announced Ever-ting’ fine here!

So… how’s the jaw doing Mr. Marshall? Rumour has it that ice works better than rum. 🙂

Here is the article from The Nation. As usual we repeat it here in full because that newspaper (like the Barbados Advocate) has a habit of erasing the past when politically expedient. You should head over to their website to read the article, but if it’s missing you’ll find it here…

Ten Rapped (link to The Nation online article)

by BARRY ALLEYNE

THE DECISION BY A BARBADIAN JUDGE to sentence a confessed killer to ten years in jail has come under serious international scrutiny. But a former attorney general says this country’s judicial sentencing system remains beyond reproach, and foreigners simply need to respect the jurisprudence and judicial system of countries outside their own. Continue reading

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Idiocy at The Barbados Advocate: Murderous 25 year old career criminal described as “Youth”

Headline: “Youth jailed for 10 years for killing visitor”

When Curtis Joel Foster chased down Canadian tourist Teresa “Terry” Schwarzfeld at Long Beach last year and beat her to death he was 24 years old and in the middle of a one man violent crime wave that had been going on at Long Beach for over a year. Foster committed multiple robberies, thefts, assaults and is or was charged with at least one rape of a tourist.

Foster is not a “youth” by any stretch of imagination, but that’s how the Barbados Advocate described him in their headline.

Was the paper trying to mitigate the public disgust at the light 10 year sentence by indicating that Foster is a “youth” and therefore somehow less responsible for his actions?

This is not the first time we’ve seen the term “youth” misapplied by the Barbados Advocate to describe adult men in their mid-20’s who commit violent crimes. We’ve noticed that the paper habitually refers to adult criminals as “youths” even if they are talking about a gang of not-quite 30-year-old thugs hanging out at the T.

Is it that “youths” are somehow less threatening to our image?

Words matter, so we’re calling the Barbados Advocate out for their idiocy… or their propaganda.

What do you think folks? Have you noticed this trend by the paper? Why do the people at the Barbados Advocate continue to describe 24 year old adult males as “youths”?

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Barbados Court: Murder of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld only worth 10 years in prison – Hunted down on beach in broad daylight

Murdered Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld

UPDATE: Victim Impact Statement as read in court

Our Take on the light sentence:

A plea bargain to dispose of the ugly situation as soon as possible. Only ten years for hunting down a tourist on the beach and beating her to death.

Barbados doesn’t want any scrutiny about robbery, rape and violence against tourists by the same accused at the same location for a year prior to the Schwarzfeld murder. Wouldn’t want the Royal Barbados Police Force to look stupid. Bad for business. “Say… what’s on TV tonight? Anything of interest happen at work today dear?”

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

Bajan hotel owner Adrian Loveridge comments on the lousy 10 year sentence…

‘10 years for killing visitor’

Sometimes people have to speak out and if that means there are consequences, then so-be-it.

Curtis Joel Foster had already been convicted of 8 robberies including 5 on visitors. We know that at least two of these involved extreme violence because my wife personally treated two of the victims.

Mitigating arguments by the defence lawyer included ‘The court does accept that there was no use of a firearm’, but that is NOT true according to a victim impact statement issued by the husband of the murdered Teresa Schwarzfeld, Stephen Cotsman and printed in the Ottawa Citizen on 22 March and other Canwest publications across Canada.

He stated ‘we understand that he (Foster) has not admitted to what really occured and this adds to our family’s pain. Luana Cotsman is a survivor of the attack and knows exactly what happened’.

‘First, Foster accosted them with a gun and demanded money’.

‘Then, when they truthfully told him that they did not have any (money), he ran back to the bushes and retrieved a big piece of wood (the size of a baseball bat) and chased them as they ran for safety. He caught up with Terry and hit her on the back of the head – so hard that he fractured her skull. Terry never woke up again’.

And what of the rape charge?

One has to ask if the sentence matches the crimes committed and what sort of message is Barbados sending over its concerns for the safety and security of visitors to our shores?

Our deepest sympathies go out to the grieving family with the assurance that some of us do not consider the sentence passed anywhere close to being applicable to the severity of the crimes committed.

Adrian Loveridge

(And all of us at Barbados Free Press sign on to Adrian’s position: Marcus, Shona, George, Cliverton, Robert & Auntie Moses)

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UPDATE: Curtis Joel Foster will be sentenced Monday, March 22, 2010 in murder of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld

This article first appeared on Barbados Free Press on February 17, 2010 – the day that the Bajan news media originally said Curtis Joel Foster would be sentenced. That February 17th court appearance was postponed until Monday, March 22, 2010 – when again we are told that Foster will be sentenced.

Murdered Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld

Curtis Joel Foster will be sentenced on Monday, March 22, 2010, for the “manslaughter” of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld who 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 fled, Foster pursued and 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.

Most people see the event as a murder, but the lawyers and Public Prosecutor let Foster plead to a lesser charge of “manslaughter”. The Canadian news media reported that the victim’s family weren’t even notified of the plea deal or the plea. They heard the news on the radio – so said the Canadian news media back in January.

On March 26, 2009, Foster received only a two year sentence for a string of five tourist robberies that occurred at Long Beach in the year prior to the Schwarzfeld attack. These events involved visitors from the UK and Belgium. He is also charged with the rape of a German tourist at the same location in July of 2008 but we don’t know if he pleaded in that case.

Barbados Police Commissioner Dottin. Long Beach was a robbery and rape “hot spot”, but we Bajans and the tourists were never warned.

Barbados Police acknowledged that they failed to note the long series of violent offenses at Long Beach in the year prior to Schwarzfeld’s death and failed to alert the public or take pro-active measures to prevent further attacks or arrest the attacker.

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”)

So we’ll see what sentence Foster receives for the murder manslaughter.

Here’s hoping he rots in jail until he draws his final breath. Then toss his body out for the crabs at Long Beach or Mount Stinkeroo. He’s not worth the trouble of a grave.

If you think that’s too harsh, maybe you should ask the Schwarzfeld family or the German rape victim how they feel about it.

Further Reading

BFP, January 21, 2010: Guilty plea in killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld raises official hopes that the story will now go away

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

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Curtis Joel Foster sentencing UPDATE. Killer was supposed to appear February 18th

Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld murdered during Long Beach robbery

Curtis Joel Foster 25, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Barbados High Court on Wednesday, January 20, 2010. At that time the news media stated that Foster would be sentenced on February 17th next.

February 17, 2010 came and went without a single mention of Foster’s sentencing in the Barbados news media. Barbados Free Press had two inquiries from the Canadian news media and we were unable to assist the reporters because we haven’t heard a thing and neither the Barbados electronic nor print media thought to inform the public.

Then on the morning of Thursday February 18th, we heard that “some time ago” the court appearance had been moved to February 18th, but no one bothered to inform the news media or the public. This attitude also extends to the family of the victim who heard about the January 20th guilty plea after the fact and through the news media. It seems that no one from the police or the prosecutor’s office bothered to contact the Schwarzfeld family beforehand.

Unfortunately so typical.

According to a February 18th article in the Nation, the court hearing today (Thursday 18th) was supposed to have been a reading of the psychiatric and pre-sentencing reports.

We haven’t heard what happened in court and so far none of the island news outlets mentioned it, including the evening CBC news.

Can any of our readers assist? Does anyone know what happened to the Foster sentencing? Was he sentenced on the 18th? Is there a new date?

Does anyone have any current information?

Further Reading

BFP, January 21, 2010: Guilty plea in killing of Canadian tourist Terry Schwarzfeld raises official hopes that the story will now go away

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