By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe has promised to investigate Senator John Bostwick’s claims that Carnival Cruise Lines tried to ‘frighten’ its passengers over crime in Nassau in an effort to divert them to the company’s new private island - Blackbeard’s Cay.
Calling Mr Bostwick’s concern ‘extreme’, the Minister defended Carnival saying he doubted they would do anything to harm the Bahamas’ economy which they helped to build.
He said: “To think that Carnival would do something like that - I don’t think so.”
Mr Bostwick told Tribune Business on Tuesday he questioned why Carnival had written to all of its passengers warning them about crime when no other cruise line had apparently taken similar action.
Mr Wilchcombe said: “You have to appreciate that cruise lines have a liability concern. Any visitor on their vessel is subject to any incident they (Carnival) then become responsible. So we understand and except that.
“I have paid attention to what he has had to say. I have to look into it further.
“We must remember that Carnival has had a long relationship with the Bahamas. It has helped us build our cruise industry and helped us build our tourism industry. To think that Carnival would do something like that - I don’t think so.
“They have other cays in the Bahamas that they continue to nurture and cause for growth. They have been a true partnership and a true friend. So what the senator had to say you have to take into consideration. It’s extreme, but we have to take it into consideration.”
Attempts were made to reach both a public relations representative at Carnival, Joyce Oliva and Senator Bostwick but they were not successful.
In a letter dated August 30, 201, Carnival urged its passengers to take specific precautions to safe guard themselves.
It said: “The US Embassy in Nassau recently issued a security message advising US citizens travelling to the Bahamas to be aware of their surroundings and remain on heightened alert to avoid being a victim of crime.
“The Bahamian government is taking this situation very seriously and has committed to providing significant additional security personnel and resources, with particular focus on the tourist areas.
“We wanted to bring this to your attention as a reminder to enhance your personal security by exercising good judgment and taking certain precautions as you would when visiting any foreign destination.
“If you decide to venture into town, we encourage you to stay in the main tourist areas, return to the ship before sunset, and refrain from wearing any jewellery or carrying large sums of cash or other valuables.”