Saturday 23 September, 2017

Hoteliers urged to improve security

(L-R) BHTA Chairman Roseanne Myers; acting Police Commissioner Tyrone Griffith; Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.

(L-R) BHTA Chairman Roseanne Myers; acting Police Commissioner Tyrone Griffith; Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.

Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite has issued a word of caution to hoteliers to ensure they hire properly trained security officers in light of the statistics regarding crime against visitors.

Brathwaite was speaking at the Third Quarterly Meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) this morning where he revealed that burglaries are at the top of the list of crimes being reported by tourists to the island.

Figures from the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) show that this category of crime has been on the decline but the figures are still relatively high. In 2013, the total of crimes against tourists stood at 283, in 2014 the total was 294, in 2015 there were 249 incidents, in 2016 the number was 205 and up to the end of August 2017, there were 188 incidents.

BHTA members listen intently during this morning's General Meeting.

AG Brathwaite pointed out while crime statistics in general were a cause for concern, Barbados could not afford to have its brand compromised from negative reports being generated in key source markets. Considering the sector is the largest earner of foreign exchange, he said such issues needed to be addressed immediately.

He said the security – or rather the lack of it – at tourist accommodations was one of the crucial areas hoteliers needed to pay attention to.

“There are some hotels who I believe are not necessarily hiring the best security services. I think you also owe it to yourself and the security firms owe it to you to ensure that you have the best possible resources available. Having a young man or a young lady or an old man or an old lady standing at the entrance isn’t necessarily the best protection – you want to ensure that they are properly trained.”

BHTA CEO, Rudy Grant, with acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Oral Williams.

The AG urged them to take advantage of items on the duty-free concessions list under the Tourism Development Act such as monitoring equipment, key cards and outdoor lighting. He also encouraged hoteliers to engage guests on security tips, without driving fear into their hearts. He added the RBPF has and will continue to assist with visitor security through their Tourism Officers Unit and increasing patrols at popular tourist attractions such at the Richard Haynes Boardwalk on the South Coast.