Trinidad PM: Leave tourists alone

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowlet, left, speak wiith Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan and National Security Minister Stuart Young during a tour of the Roxborough Police Station, Tobago, yesterday. In background, are, Tobago West MP and Sport Minister, Shamfa Cudjoe and Planning and Development Minister, Camille Robinson-Regis.

(Trinidad Express) Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley has called on res­i­dents of To­ba­go to frown up­on crimes against tourists.

The Prime Min­is­ter spoke briefly with the me­dia dur­ing a tour of the ma­jor in­fra­struc­tur­al projects on the is­land yes­ter­day, one of which was the brand new Old Grange Po­lice Sta­tion at Shir­van.

Row­ley said he is dis­ap­point­ed when he hears about crimes com­mit­ted against vis­i­tors.

He said, “When we put so much ef­fort in­to try­ing to make the place at­trac­tive for vis­i­tors and then some id­iot goes and does some­thing like that and un­does every­thing that we have done, be­cause it gives the place a name that we don’t want.”

He said while crimes com­mit­ted against vis­i­tors are a com­mon oc­cur­rence in many des­ti­na­tions“we just have to keep en­cour­ag­ing the young peo­ple to see a dif­fer­ent kind of fu­ture.”

He al­so en­cour­aged par­ents to speak wit chil­dren to adopt lifestyles, which would keep them out of prison.

Row­ley, who is al­so re­spon­si­ble for projects un­der the over­sight of Ude­cott vis­it­ed sev­er­al sights in­clud­ing, the Rox­bor­ough Ad­min­is­tra­tive Cen­tre and the sight for the Cour­land Fire Sta­tion.

Al­so on the tour was Sec­re­tary of Tourism, Cul­ture and Trans­porta­tion Na­dine Stew­art-Phillips who as­sured that of­fi­cers of the Tourism-Ori­ent­ed Polic­ing Unit will in­crease pa­trols in ar­eas of­ten vis­it­ed by tourists af­ter two cou­ples were at­tacked, in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents, ear­li­er this month.

“The TTPS stat­ed that it in­tends to in­ten­si­fy bi­cy­cle pa­trols in high traf­fic ar­eas and trails fre­quent­ed by vis­i­tors as well as to train more bi­cy­cle pa­trol of­fi­cers,” Stew­art- Phillips said in a state­ment af­ter meet­ing with the To­ba­go Tourism Agency Lim­it­ed and the Di­vi­sion’s Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice act­ing Jef­frey George.

On Feb­ru­ary 3, a Cana­di­an cou­ple was at­tacked at Grafton Beach. They were beat­en and robbed of their wal­let and US$ 15, visa and mas­ter card and a cell phone.

And days lat­er, a British cou­ple was held up at gun­point at the Arnos Vale beach in Ply­mouth. The as­sailant made off with TT$ 100, US$ 60 and a canon cam­era.

This is the sec­ond at­tack on tourists, in To­ba­go, in over a year. Last year, one tourist was a vic­tim of theft.

In giv­ing the as­sur­ance, Stew­art- Phillips said the po­lice were us­ing sur­veil­lance cam­eras and com­mu­ni­ty out­reach pro­grammes. The lat­ter mea­sure is geared to­wards get­ting tourism in­dus­try stake­hold­ers and lo­cals to use best prac­tice safe­ty mea­sure to pro­tect them­selves and tourists.

Speak­ing on the in­creased pa­trols, George told Guardian Me­dia that of­fi­cers from the Tourism-Ori­ent­ed Polic­ing Unit are “in the area (of the two rob­beries) and pay­ing spe­cial at­ten­tion.”

Some 20 of­fi­cers from the unit were praised for their work dur­ing the 2017/2018 cruise ship sea­son which ran from No­vem­ber 15, 2017, to May 9, 2018.

Mean­while, William Bronte, who owns Arnos Vale Ho­tel, which is lo­cat­ed near to the scene of the lat­est tourists’ at­tack, said he is dis­turbed by the news.

“ The area is lone­ly and I al­ways had at least two se­cu­ri­ty peo­ple in the area to en­sure tourists’ safe­ty, now I have one per­son. Still, it’s dis­turb­ing to hear that peo­ple were at­tacked in the area,” Bronte said.

He said no one, ex­cept the care­tak­er, is al­lowed on the premis­es.

“ The place is not aban­doned as I have been pay­ing peo­ple week­ly to take care of the place, but when you are not on site to see how peo­ple treat your prop­er­ty, you some­times suf­fer,” Bronte added.

He said the area is “beau­ti­ful and peo­ple will want to vis­it it, but they must be care­ful to on­ly go there in a group.”

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