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Tourism In Fear Over Crime Risk

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said because crime is “such an enormous problem” in New Providence, his ministry is “deathly” afraid every day that a tragic event will happen and the United States will issue another travel advisory.

Addressing tourism stakeholders recently at the Hilton, Mr D’Aguilar said visitor safety is a critical concern and the Ministry of Tourism will work with hotels and the Royal Bahamas Police Force to improve “interaction and provide a safer environment.”

“Safety is a major concern of the tourism sector and we are deathly scared every day of some tragic event happening and the United States putting out a travel advisory,” Mr D’Aguilar said.

“We in the Ministry of Tourism are going to interact with hotels especially at the particular facilities so that we can improve interaction with the police force.

“The Ministry of Tourism has a lot of events and I noticed that even though the ministry is paying for them, they are basically turning into great big parties for Bahamians and not turning into exponential events for our visitors. One of the things we have to do is ask ourselves why the hotels are not sending them there and one of the questions they are going to ask is ‘Is it safe for our guests?’ We have to ensure that it is a safe and fun environment for our visitors. It is a concern. Crime and safety is an enormous social problem here and it affects everything that we do.”

Last week, an international travel site listed the Bahamas as the sixth out of ten most dangerous places for unaccompanied women travellers to visit.

Trip.com, in a recent survey, listed the Bahamas just behind Peru and ahead of Colombia on its “Least Safe Countries for Solo Female Travellers”.

The story was picked up by popular international business magazine Forbes and published on its website Forbes.com.

The Forbes report also used information from a recent US State Department warning over New Providence’s crime rate.

In that report, the US State Department lists the criminal threat level for New Providence as “critical,” while also acknowledging an increase in criminal activity in Grand Bahama “this past year.”

In June, responding to a controversial video circulating on social media encouraging prospective visitors to avoid New Providence to preserve their own safety, Mr D’Aguilar said his ministry will “redouble” its marketing efforts to counter the “false information” contained in the video.

Still, at the time Mr D’Aguilar admitted that New Providence “is not something that we should be proud of,” adding that he is “unimpressed” with the experience cruise visitors have when they arrive at the Port of Nassau.

Mr D’Aguilar, in regretting the current state of affairs in New Providence, stressed that “our tourist product needs some work.”

There have been a spike of homicides over the past few weeks, with the most recent involving two men who were killed over the holiday weekend, one of whom was killed less than a month after he was released on bail.

Comments

OMG 2 months, 1 week ago

Maybe we should start by aresting the verbal filth that spews out of some Bahanian youth and educate patents and headteachers on how young women dress and behave in public.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 1 week ago

Someone please remind this little white-haired yapping poodle that we, the people, are well aware of all the crime related problems he speaks of, and that he was not elected to remind us about them, but rather do something about them. There are few things worse than a politician who runs his mouth about nothing new simply because he just likes to hear himself yap.

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sealice 2 months, 1 week ago

I think we should just continue what we have been doing the past 10 years - let the killers out on bail and they are killed by their BRETHREN.... this is the closest we can come to capital punishment and it doesn't cost us a penny!!! Just send all the tourists to out islands, hell Freeport could use the boost....

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SP 2 months, 1 week ago

TOURISM Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar lamenting crime as “such an enormous problem” in New Providence need step up to the plate and start revamping the "tourist experience" by addressing the ignorant, dangerous thugs in the jet ski, hair braiding, beach hawking and other low skill front line businesses and implementing systems that naturally remove the bad apples from the front lines of our tourism product.

This could be easily done by requiring everyone in front line tourism to have a certain level of education and also require them to earn a Bahama host certificate with high passing grades and issuing Bahama host I.D. certifying cards which would do wonders in eliminating the bad elements and immediately reduce tourist exposure to low lives, criminals and thugs that gravitate to these types of jobs.

Standing around talking and waiting for the inevitable to repeat itself is an unacceptable nonstarter....Get on with it!

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DDK 2 months, 1 week ago

“The Ministry of Tourism has a lot of events and I noticed that even though the ministry is paying for them, they are basically turning into great big parties for Bahamians and not turning into exponential events for our visitors." This makes no sense, if the visitors do not attend, stop the events. I think there are slightly more important things to spend tax payers dollars on than free parties.

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TalRussell 2 months, 1 week ago

Comrades! Are you listening carefully to the Minister’s message to the world? All talk by a Tourism Minister is not only for local consumption.
An urgent call must go out to the red shirts government workers job ‘verification process’ to include Tourism Minister Dionisio’s answers to the competency-based questions on the job application the prime minister must have forgotten to get Loose Lips Sinks Tourism ‘The FONISIO’ to fill out - before his royal swearing in as a crown minister by The Queen’s representative Dame Marguerite.
Obviously, this particular red shirt is much too underwater to represent the Bahamaland on the world’s tourism stage. PM, waste no time sending him back to supervise his Big Bad Boy Washers, Dryers and Pressers. Plus, Miss Daisy would make for a far better World Spokesperson hire over at Ministry of Tourism?

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John 2 months, 1 week ago

Get BAHAMIANS to work! Unemployment is the reason for lots of the crime. Then there needs to be more institutional structure after leaving high school. Many young people, males especially, leave school at the ages of 16 or 17 and there is no formal structure after that if they don't go on to college. Many try to find jobs and whatever resemblance they have of a family expect them to become independent and carry their own load. Even in the US now offspring are opting to stay in their parents abode longer, even a few years after getting married. The financial world is not easy and working children that stay at home even help the parents. Here in the Bahamas there has to be some institution for persons under 21 who are not employed or in college. Else the big greedy arms of crime will continue to grab them and for many it will become a way of life. And for others and some industries, like Tourism, crime will destroy them eventually.

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DDK 2 months, 1 week ago

All well and good John, but what about the young Bahamians, male and female, who simply do not want to work? Many work at a job only long enough to make sufficient to buy whatever cell phone or hair weave is the flavour of the day. Then there are those who make a living off of a succession of sugar daddies and maybe sugar mommies! It is evident that many of today's youth are on the wrong path long before they leave high school with a sub-standard education.

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John 2 months ago

So show me the ones who don't want to work. Maybe they no longer want to be slaves and work for peanuts but 95% of Bahamians are wanting and willing to work. And so if they quit a job and take a break after a while is that against the law. People all over the globe do it. Some folks quit jobs to travel around the world then go back to work

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Groidal 2 months, 1 week ago

The number one problem is that the sub human jetski operators are running wild on cabbage beach and assaulting and raping tourists on a daily basis. Until this scum is removed any other attempts at managing tourist abuse is a complete joke

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John 2 months, 1 week ago

Grodtial you are misinformed. Some people think every Black person is subhuman. They want to deny our young men the opportunity to earn an honest living and you are just as bad for promoting their agenda. Y'all ain't taking this country from us!

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ReverendKemp 2 months, 1 week ago

The Bahamas should have been " FREED " long time ago from total dependence on tourism. But LACK of vision, we are told, people will perish. UNTIL and UNLESS you people wake up to a higher consciousness than TOURISM, you will remain ENSLAVED to America, Canada and other nations whose people makes up the tourism industry. By now The Bahamas should be trully INDEPENDENT, rather, after 44 years of so-called Independence we are still depending on tourism to sustain and maintain the country. As long as we remain CONSUMERS and never OWNERS, we are not FREE. There must be a generation that can lead us Onward, Upward and Together from this present ENSLAVEMENT. It all begins in THE MIND, until the mind is renewed to seeing ourselves being better, doing better and having better without foreign dependence then there are INFINITE POSSIBILITIES ! - Reverend Kemp mymiraclemoment.com

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ashley14 2 months, 1 week ago

Many of everyone's ideas are correct. You have to start somewhere. Why not save your children. Get back to family. Drill self respect into your daughters and know where your boys are. Family values, help your neighbors and they'll help you. Go back to marriage and then babies. Stay to together if at all possible. The crime will drop, people will be working and taking care of their own. Tourism will rise. Jobs will increase. You have to start somewhere and knowing my family is safe in their beds is a good start.

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paul_vincent_zecchino 2 months, 1 week ago

Sounds as if you're advocating for a return to the standards set by our creator, Jehovah God. Agree, completely. When we try to adhere to the values and standards set by our Creator, we benefit. Thank you for stating the truth.

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Porcupine 2 months ago

We seem too focused on the money. As in, we need to get the tourists to spend more dollars. As in, we need to start taxing Airbnb. The overall mantra should be, how do we provide a better experience for our guests? So, I would maintain that we don't understand tourism, from the top on down. How do we provide a place that we ourselves would enjoy? New Providence is finished. It is not safe, clean, welcoming or friendly. And, it seems that WE have lost sight of the true benefits of tourism, as in Reverendkemps comments. We need to produce something. We all can't be ministers. Where does the money for the offerings come from? I have always seen tourism as a good clean source of revenue for any country. Had we done it right, by truly promoting our culture, and highlighting our sun, sand and sea, we would not be where we are now. We are all dependent on something to make a living. I have made a good living in the tourism sector. I have trained others. It is all based on an understanding of SERVICE.
Until we take pride in SERVICE, we have no tourism product. To me, there are few greater opportunities than to live in a place that people want to come visit. While we have an opportunity to make a good living without desecrating the thing that is held so valuable. The other major benefit from tourism is that you have people from outside The Bahamas coming here and sharing their views. If anything is needed in this country, it is a fresh injection of ideas and ways of thinking. We seem 100 years behind the times. Is this really not noticeable to most Bahamians. If not, why not?

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TorontoGal 2 months ago

So many of these ideas are excellent so start doing instead of talking, folks. If the jetskiers are a problem, get rid of them. Ban jetskiing! Then restart the program by hiring, investigating and licencing the operators. Better educate your children. Give them an education where they can study and explore the world, not just your 21 x 7 island where they get into trouble. This would involve raising your standards and enforcing rules and regulations to live by. Sounds rough and tough but many of your boys have all this wasted testosterone so use it and start rebuilding this island instead of tearing it down. And your girls! OMG, none know how to keep their legs closed. To have two, three, and more kids without the father being around is not the way of life these girls should be following. Talk about living in the past where slaves had to have babies to keep the mastas plantations well staffed. Those days are over. Having children now should be because the parent can raise the child with dignity, support the child, feed and clothe the child, not drag it up by begging on the streets or getting welfare money. Get some pride in yourself and in your country. Make the fathers responsible for their kids. If they can't afford them, don't have them. Snip! Snip! Snip! How many generations of uneducated, fatherless children does the Bahamas really need.

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John 2 months ago

Only a jackass would even suggest banning jet skiiing! Less incidents of (sexual) harrassment happens in the whole jet ski operations than occurs on an average weekend on the beaches in South Florida. (AND YES) They are considering banning the sale of alcohol after 10:00 pm on those beaches, but bet the ban will be lifted shortly thereafter. They only want to remove the jet skis to tell (subliminally) young Bahamian men men they are 'undesireables' or "subhuman' and not good enough to interact with the tourists.. The majority of these men are hard working,. industrious, God fearing and well mannered. They are also young and to be attracted to young adult girls on the beach is a natural thing. May as well ban Tourists if Bahamians cannot get their fair shake in the market. Why not ban the internet because of the so many negative things that happen on it.

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Greentea 2 months ago

Bahamians need to understand the need to stem the tide of violence and crime for themselves- Not the tourists. Until that happens nothing will change, because quick fixes and posing cannot be sustained in this social media world we live in.

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ashley14 2 months ago

What I was trying to say is I have been reading this paper for two years. Article after article I've read similar articles and opinions. Lots of good opinions, but nothing changes. Change what you can. Start at home. Get involved in your kids lives, even teenagers. Create strong family ties. They won't turn to gangs when they have direction in their lives. It won't change over night. It's a positive place to start. You may get rejection from the older teens in the beginning. Never give up.

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TalRussell 2 months ago

Comrade Ashley. let's stop playing around it. The Bahamaland was peaceful until the two major political parties showed up on the scene. The first recorded gang connected crimes were unleashed on Nassauvians - under the leadership of both the PLP and Red Shirts political parties... And guess what - the offspring of the gang members of days past - are still actively connected to the hipbones of both major political parties.

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ashley14 2 months ago

Do you really believe what you just said? Well loving, caring, providing, and knowing where your children are couldn't hurt anyone. Especially your children. Even for happiness in life, people with a strong support system are happier and stronger than those without. Do you know what it's like to really be loved and prayed for everyday? If you don't think it would makes a difference then I'll add you to my prayer list!

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