By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
AMID allegations of rape within the water sports industry, The Cove at Atlantis has warned its guests against renting Jet Skis on Cabbage Beach, adding that doing so is “at your own risk”.
When contacted for comment, a representative of the resort said the letter, which was circulating on social media, “grossly misrepresents” the hotel’s intent to protect its guests.
A copy of a letter to guests of The Cove - one of the Atlantis resort’s hotel brands – said: “We are also concerned about your safety and security and are therefore obligated to bring to your attention a matter related to the use of the beach.”
The letter then tells guests that water sports operators are not associated with the hotel and their industry is “minimally regulated.”
“Because of the safety and security risks associated with the Jet Ski operations in Nassau, the US Embassy in Nassau has prohibited its personnel from using the services of Jet Ski operators in Nassau and has strongly advised US citizens to do the same and not patronise these services.
“Given these circumstances, we strongly advise against your renting any motorised water sports equipment and you should never leave the beach alone with any of the staff or operators of such equipment. Should you decide to engage in any of these activities, that you do so entirely at your own risk,” the letter said.
When contacted for comment, sources said: “This letter isn’t new at all, it has been in rooms of our hotels and many other hotels around the country; certainly in the rooms of resorts associated with the Bahamas Hotel Association.”
The source said only a small change was made to the letter to reflect the recent warning given by United States embassy officials.
“We have a responsibility to our guests’ safety and security. While we have amended the letter to highlight the recent US Advisory and to warn them not to go on a jet ski alone with anyone, the letter has been in the room for close to, if not more than, ten years. Obviously if the environment improves with respect to watercraft regulation enforcement, the tenor of the letter would be amended.”
Last week the United States Embassy in Nassau “prohibited” its employees from using Jet Ski rentals in New Providence and advised its citizens visiting the Bahamas against using the rentals in Nassau. This came in the wake of reports that an American woman was allegedly raped by a man with a Jet Ski at Cabbage Beach.
Transport Minister Glenys Hanna Martin has maintained that the alleged attacker was not a licensed operator.
However, she added that her ministry has formed a committee composed of licensed water sports operators to fix the problems plaguing the industry.
In 2014, an American woman claimed she had developed post-traumatic stress disorder following an encounter near Paradise Island with Jet Ski operators who allegedly tried to sexually assault her. In December 2015, police arrested a Jet Ski operator in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a female visitor.