By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday that incidents such as the recent murder of an American visitor to New Providence could negatively impact this country’s reputation as a premier tourist destination, telling Tribune Business: “We’re meddling with disaster.”
Reports of the shooting of Chicago native Kyle Brauner, 34, have been carried in several major US media publications, such as the Huffington Post and the Chicago Tribune, and Mr Wilchcombe said this was not the publicity the Bahamas needed.
“It is my view that we are meddling with disaster that can have a drastic impact, which will severely affect the Bahamas and our reputation,” he said.
“All the people of the Bahamas would ultimately be impacted economically, socially and otherwise. I think we have to appreciate that just today the story appeared on the front page of the Chicago Tribune, which has a distribution of 450,000 and more than three million visits online.
“That means the story sits there and what could happen is that becomes a story which gathers traction.”
He added: “We do not need that, and it’s not only because of this incident that I say that, but because of the continued incline of such incidents - even when they involve Bahamians.
“We have to cause the Bahamas to again be seen as a peaceful and friendly environment, where the visitor can have the liberty to enjoy what we as Bahamians want to enjoy every day. It all comes back to a simple reality that we must fix our country for ourselves and allow others to enjoy it.”
Mr Brauner, who was working on a sailboat passing through New Providence, was reportedly shot in the neck early Sunday morning while trying to thwart a robbery attempt.