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Lawyer Says Nassau ‘Is A Dangerous Dump’

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

A MARITIME lawyer renewed his criticism of the Bahamas’ cruise-ship industry over the weekend following the release of a satirical video criticising the country’s tourist attractions and cleanliness.

“I picked Nassau last year to be the most dangerous cruise destination in the world,” Jim Walker wrote in an online blog post. “The most common comment that I receive from cruise passengers is that Nassau is the one port where they don’t get off the cruise ship. There is high crime and an out-of-control murder rate. The sight of heavily armed police with automatic weapons causes the cruise tourists, I am told, to experience more stress than the security that the police are supposed to provide.

“Cruise passengers also routinely state that they are offered drugs as soon as they get off the cruise ship. The service/tourist industry is often surly. I have been travelling to The Bahamas since the 1970s. The good, old ‘It’s better in The Bahamas’ days are long gone.

“Bahamian government officials and some local newspapers reacted to the video in a juvenile manner. Bahamian Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe reportedly called the president of Disney Cruises and protested the video. Some called for a boycott of Disney and asked that the two young crew members be sacked.”

“The Bahamas’ overblown reaction to the video controversy reflects poorly on Nassau. The truth of the matter is that Nassau, circa 2015, is a dangerous dump.”

The veracity of some of Mr Walker’s claims is debatable, but he has been quoted by news organisations such as CNN and the New York Times.

The controversial video in question, made by two Disney Cruise Line employees, went viral on social media about a week ago.

The video, a spoof styled as an infomercial, showed the pair acting as a couple on vacation, experiencing the worst that Nassau has to offer.

Last week, Mr Wilchcombe said he found the video disappointing but conceded that work must be done to improve the country’s tourism product.

Comments

bahamian242 3 years, 9 months ago

"The sight of heavily armed police with automatic weapons causes the cruise tourists, I am told, to experience more stress than the security that the police are supposed to provide."

Well I thought it was just me with that feeling! Not only that one that is selling the "DRUGS" are the police's Brother!

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John 3 years, 9 months ago

No one can deny that Nassau/New Providence has its share of problems and the number of murders and serious crime is of concern to everyone. BUT one must ask if this man is being fair and/or his comments are just an attack on the Bahamas tourist product. Yes, there have been 105 murders this year but only two or three were non Bahamians. And some six million tourist come here each year and only a very small number experience a crime situation. To put the situation into context, you must compare Nassau with destinations like Disney World or Six Flags and see how many visitors to those attractions are injured or robbed or experience some other situation. Tourists are among the safest people in the country. White women are the most safest followed by white men. And exit interviews with younger tourists confirm that they come to the Bahamas and the Caribbean, "for pot and for sex." And since pot or weed has become more accepted in the US and Canada, where most tourist come from, they don't expect to get a hefty fine or jail time for, 'a lil bit of pot on da island" Neither do they not expect to find any when they come but if anyone is in the port blatantly offering drugs to tourists they should be removed and severely dealt with. For the Most part Nassau is as clean and as well kept as most Caribbean destinations, in the tourist area, even though more can be done to disguise the vacant and dilapidated buildings. The marines carrying automatic weapons at the port is more to do with potential terrorism attacks rather than personal security and if this man is a lawyer he should understand this. But many still question why local police still carry automatic weapons while making a traffic stop or at some cultural event. Even when Bahamians go to the Arawak Port to collect fright, they are subjected to US rules and regulations for the very same reason.

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Romrok 3 years, 9 months ago

Get over it man, stop covering for us with crap. We can be better, there should be no reason for automatic anything on bay street. Turn in your punk ass brother and let's fix this country. You, being a smart ass, should know the only reason ships are in Nassau are because they assure registered there. How much longer before they go to Panama and leave us in the dust?

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John 3 years, 9 months ago

I think I missed your point or did you have one?

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TruthHurts 3 years, 9 months ago

I think he/she missed your point John. But I concur.. tourists are much more safer than the typical Bahamian. So, for this gentleman, regardless of what high profile news station takes note of him, goes on record to quote death figures when it does not even apply to the tourism culture is beyond me. He has hyped and distorted the information to fuel his agenda; and that is not right! So much misinformation and bias' are generated by the media (so called journalists) on a daily basis, and in today's world, if you are not aware of that, it's best you return to living under a rock! The media and celebrities alike hyped up world renown chef Wolfgang Puck, however, in all his worldly fame his catering business exposed some 3k people to Hepatitis? Think for yourselves people!

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GrassRoot 3 years, 9 months ago

When it comes down to tourist product, perception is reality. The only people that control this product is us, and we don't do it. Jim Walker was not born to beat up the Bahamas, Jim Walker would actually write very favorably about the Bahamas tourist product, if we gave him reason to. The sooner we get the idea of Bahamian exceptionalism out of our heads when it comes to the tourist product, the better it is for all of us. Its call work, one brick at a time.Clean up down town, have friendly staff, adjust the prices, provide service, put Nassau and the Bahamas on the list of destinations of each tourist to return to as soon as possible, for all the right reasons.

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iamatruebahamian 3 years, 9 months ago

Bahamians do not let this guy talk about The Bahamas like where he's from there is no crime and murders happening in the country where he live. Of cause we have problems but don't every city with a dense population has some crime? and tourist in general is safe? DO NOT repeat DO NOT have people talk nonsense about our country and take our motto to use it in a derogatory way. We have to protect our country, it's ours DEFEND IT TO THE END. Bahamians we need to be proud of ourselves, as small country that we have more positives than the negatives that makes us great and stop trashing each other because we have enough foreigners doing that. do not let outsiders define who we our as a country.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 9 months ago

You can probably go to any US city and produce a similar video word for word. The problem is,.... they don't care, tourism is not their number one industry, it's ours. So while I love our big sky, crystal clear waters, pulsating sounds of Junkanoo, the dialect, the warmth of the people etc etc, I must say WE GAT PROBLEMS. And we eehn foolin' nobody pretending we don't.

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Sadnation 3 years, 9 months ago

Do you think the number of Bahamians murdered only include a few non-Bahamians really matter? The murder rate is what's reported. And for a country with no hand guns allowed, there are too many gun deaths here, period.

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tomorrow_people 3 years, 9 months ago

There is crime everywhere but not the ratio and scale that we have it. We are a service industry. Do Detroit and Caracas have crime? Of course. Do they rely on tourism? No. When will we Bahamians get off our high horse and understand that? Walker is not talking nonsense, he is speaking the truth. I don't like what he says either, but I can't deny that he is right. Nassau, especially downtown has become a dump. It is grimy, dirty, loud, looks cheap, yet costs a lot. I could make an analogy but I won't. Tourists "in general" being safe is not good enough. When did our bar sink so low? The statement should read "EVERYONE here is completely safe". Not selecting a group and generalising. More and more female tourists are assaulted and attacked on a regular basis but being unequal nation that we are, the majority think its par for the course, or that its their fault anyway. It is sad and sick. I'll defend this country again when there is something to defend. Foreigners arent trashing this place. We are trashing it all by ourselves. They are just calling it like they see it.

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John 3 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately more Bahamians are robbed in South Florida each year than the amount of tourists that become crime victims in the Bahamas. Car rental companies only recently changed their policy of assigning rental cars and now allow customers to randomly select cars because some employees were giving out spare keys to rented cars. Someone would follow the rented vehicle and when it made a stop at a mall or hotel they would enter the car and steal all the contents. Since there were no signs of forced entry, victims would go hours before they realize they were robbed. Other people were robbed in their hotel rooms.

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kaytaz 3 years, 9 months ago

Downtown Nassau is a disgrace if you ask me.Bahamians dont even want to go down there.I dont agree with everything this man has to say but we need to do better as a country

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cuckoo6 3 years, 9 months ago

When Mr. Walker makes the statement that Nassau is the "most dangerous port" then he should, as an industry expert, be able to substantiate such a claim with numbers. I would like to see a list of the top ten cruise destinations in the Caribbean. Why not include the top 50 destinations worldwide. Show how many cruise tourists arrive in each port and how many of those tourists have reported being the victim of a crime in each port. Show where each port ranks. That way the statement that Nassau is the most dangerous port would be based on facts and not someone's personal perception. I have already asked Mr. Walker to do this in a response to his blog and he only responded by comparing the total murders in Nassau to the total number of murders in the city of Miami. Still yet to see the actual number of incidents that would show why Nassau is the most dangerous compared to other ports of call. We all are painfully aware of the gang warfare going on in the nation. No body takes this lightly in terms of how it effects our own lives as well as the the perception of Nassau in the tourism industry. I still would like to see the actual numbers regarding crimes related to tourists. We do need to make major improvements to our down town. Nassau is unique in that the port is part of a real town rather than a fake village on an out island off the coast of a country such as you will find if you make port in Honduras. I do hope that the day will come that our down town is transformed into a beautiful and authentic destination. For now I would like to see the proof that Nassau is "the most dangerous". Let's see the numbers behind your claim Mr. Walker.

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Bahamianpride 3 years, 9 months ago

John Deflection, spin does not address the problem.. Nassau is a very dangerous place and unlike the U.S we cannot just pick up and move to a low crime area or different State. Example Portland Oregon 626000 people, 26 murders in 2014.. There are many communities that have not seen a murder or serious crime in 50 years..

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concernedcitizen 3 years, 9 months ago

The murder rate in the US is 4 per 100,000 we are about 35 per 100,000 ,,Bay front has nice eating places w/ good service ,south beach has great entertainment w/ great service ..We got dirty Bay street w/ loud cussing and bad service ,,Why do you think they want us off of cabbage beach ,we are loud nasty and leave filth everywhere ..I had to go to immigration once on Hawkins hill ,the old building , for three weeks i went and used the stairs instead of the elevator ,the same KFC box was on the stairs on three different visits . I live on a family island ,this past Saturday we did a clean up in town ,Its only Tuesday and its getting dirty again .I was behind a car two weeks ago and for 2 to 3 miles the parents had their child throwing garbage ,food containers ,soda cans etc out the back window.I should have been shocked ,amazed but it did not even surprise me at the least .

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BoopaDoop 3 years, 9 months ago

I used to walk on Bay Street downtown frequently. I have seen males rest their empty beverage bottles on store window sills without missing a stride. I think it is a natural trait in the DNA.

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Sickened 3 years, 9 months ago

Instead of DNA could you say PLP? LOL

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Regardless 3 years, 9 months ago

There is no national self-esteem at all!

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bandit 3 years, 9 months ago

Nassau Beautiful. Who don't beleive it, that's their business

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CatIslandBoy 3 years, 9 months ago

Some of you can defend dirt, grime, filth, stench, dilapidated buildings, lousy service, cheap imports, expensive merchandise, but in the end your patriotic opinions mean nothing to the tourists that we need to come here. While I don't care for Jim Walker, and much of what he writes, as a Bahamian I am determined to do whatever I can to get him to change his opinion of my country. This is why, when in Nassau, I walk along the beach at Goodman's Bay each morning and collect a garbage bag full of trash that should have been deposited into a receptacle by the users. Just a small contribution, but if duplicated, could go a long ways in cleaning up our beaches.

There is no doubt that the tourist product, like our educational standard, in the Bahamas is in decline. The question is: how do we fix it? Not defend it.

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