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Tourism Minister 'Concerned' About Latest Spate Of Murders

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe

By NICO SCAVELLA

TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe is “concerned” about the latest streak of murders in Nassau and the negative impact the reports could have on the Bahamas’ tourism industry.

While speaking with The Tribune before heading into the House of Assembly, Mr Wilchcombe did not say whether he believed the country would lose business because of the high level of crime.

However, he acknowledged that the negative reports are “not good for the country”.

He added that the “imagery of the country” is affected whenever there is a spate of violent crime.

“We’re in a small global village now,” he said. “I am concerned, meaning that I think the country is affected, the imagery, because it gets out there.

“Every bit of information is transmitted throughout the world. The internet has shrunk the world.

“So I am concerned when information gets out about the Bahamas, and it just causes us to work that much more diligently to ensure that we could rid ourselves of the image and the menace that has unfortunately invaded our country. Does that information get to the world? Yes it does. Does it impact upon our country, I think eventually it could.”

Due to the high levels of crime in the country, reports surfaced that the country’s tourism industry may take a hit as a result.

In September last year Tribune Business reported that it had received a letter from Terry Thornton, Carnival Cruise Lines’ senior vice-president, who had said that an unnamed Cabinet Minister was presented with a “draft” warning during a May 2013 meeting of Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) members.

“The Bahamian government was made aware in advance that cruise lines were planning to warn their guests,” Mr Thornton wrote.

“Carnival Cruise Lines began providing cautionary information to our guests in late May,” he wrote. “Over the past few months, other cruise lines calling at Nassau also have issued similar information to their guests.”

Recently there was an unconfirmed newspaper report that the FCCA had told government officials during a meeting in July of their plans to discontinue service to the Bahamas if the country’s security issues were not dealt with.

However, Mr Wilchcombe said that the FCCA “never once threatened the Bahamas.” He also said that the government and the FCCA “have meetings regularly” and that the meeting in question was to discuss another paramount Bahamian issue: Value Added Tax (VAT).

Mr Wilchcombe did confirm that in view of the crime problem, various cruise lines have been warning passengers not to disembark upon docking in Bahamian ports, something that he said he had addressed with the FCCA.

“We spoke with them because we saw some warnings and their warnings are usually as a result of what happens at the American Embassy,” he said. “When the embassy issues a statement they have to worry about liability and they have to worry about the safety of their passengers and that’s understood.

“What we’re hoping to do is ensure that there is greater communication so that we can communicate the message better to the customer and not frighten the customer. So we’ve had that discussion as well.”

“The focus of the meeting with them at the time I think the newspaper article is referring to was VAT,” he said. “They wanted to understand VAT and how it affects them. The truth is the FCCA has always been a partner to the Bahamas. Our concerns range from security to the bollards to the smooth flow of visitors to our country and, of course, security. But their concerns are equal to ours and we want to make sure that our port is exceptional and the best in the world. So when they raise issues with their experience, the fact that they do provide more than four million visitors to our country, we sit and we listen.

“But never once have they threatened the Bahamas and never once have they told us, during my watch and during the recent meetings with the cruise lines that they had any concerns that would cause them to want to pull out of the country.”

Mr Wilchcombe said that in an upcoming meeting with the FCCA the government wants to discuss the possibility of the cruise lines assisting with the marketing of Carnival, a festival planned for next year. He added that many of the cruise lines are considering expansion in the Bahamas.

“We have a wonderful relationship,” he said.

Comments

PKMShack 4 years, 11 months ago

these guys, where you concerned when the bill boards where posted around the city when election was going on? WOW you all are not serious. Call election

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 11 months ago

You better let BJ know, he still thinks crime is down...

Hmmm...didn't we just rate as on of the unfriendliest destinations in the world? Perhaps you should stop trying to hide the bad aspects of our character and implement steps to change our character...

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sheeprunner12 4 years, 11 months ago

So he is now????????????????? AWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. It is time that he and his colleagues sit down, see the writing on the wall and get this economy weaned off this dependency on tourism ............... 75% cruise tourists not gonna cut it. VAT too?????????

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moncurcool 4 years, 11 months ago

You spit in the wind it will come back in your face. You reap what you sow.
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It is amazing that when you look at a number of these Cabinet ministers pictures these days, it is as if they suddenly aged overnight.

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digimagination 4 years, 11 months ago

Bunch of useless old farts! Quicker they go the better!

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TheMadHatter 4 years, 11 months ago

Hey, I'm concerned about crime too. Can I be the Minister of Tourism then???????????

People expect you to be more than "concerned", sir. My grandmother is concerned.

People expect you to DO SOMETHING. What do you think it means to be "in power"? Does it mean to sit around and say "I'm concerned" ? If so, we could have purchased 39 tape recorders and set them up in the House of Assembly in constant loop repeating over and over again "I'm concerned, I'm concerned, I'm concerned......"

In fact, we would probably have gotten the same results.

Why don't you guys inject yourselves with some testosterone, like the late Sir Lynden Pindling had when he threw the Mace out of the window?????? Hang that guy who killed the police officer even though the Privy Council said you could not. Challenge Britain to do something about it after that fact. They won't be able to bring him back to life, just like we can't bring his victim back to life.

DO SOMETHING for a change. For Christ's sake.

TheMadHatter

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crabman 4 years, 11 months ago

cccrrraaappp!!!!!!!!!!!!! same old story same old hot air, but god love em' plenty fools still vote for hhim, what a life, can't see a lie when it is biting you on the ass................

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proudloudandfnm 4 years, 11 months ago

God I hope we never see this news reader as PM..

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