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‘Undesirables’ Killing Off Jet Ski Industry

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter 

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

A veteran jet ski operator yesterday conceded the industry is “dying” because of alleged crimes against tourists, admitting it has attracted many “undesirables”. 

Renwick Rolle, owner of J.R. Action Water Sports, an operator for more than 30 years, told Tribune Business that the latest allegations of sexual assault on a Canadian woman by a jet ski operator near Paradise Island were “very unfortunate”, and would only fuel the negative stigma surrounding the industry. 

“Someone just joked today that ‘you guys need to stop raping the tourists’ and, while I know he was joking, it really speaks to the negative stigma that the entire industry has,” said Mr Rolle. 

“This latest incident was very unfortunate. This industry has been around for quite some time. I’m one of the persons who started this industry, and I have seen it grow from nothing to what it is now. It has attracted a lot of undesirables who shouldn’t be in this industry, and that’s part of the problem we are having now.”

Mr Rolle said owners such as himself, who were more hands-on with their operations, self-policed and would not allow such an incident to damage their business.

“I am hands-on with my business. I am invested in this. I don’t just pick up any and everybody to operate a jet ski,” he explained. “We have owners, though, who are not hands-on; they get anyone to operate their jet ski and only care about the money they make at the end of the day. We are not all like that.

“Jet ski operators are supposed to be vetted by police. We have Port Authority officers stationed on the beaches. Operators are also not supposed to ride with guests, so I don’t know how these incidents happen, but they shouldn’t happen if people are doing their job.”

Mr Rolle urged the authorities to ‘tighten up” on the industry. “Authorities need to tighten up and show these guys they are serious,” he said. “Something has to be done. Right now I feel like it’s a dying industry because of these incidents.”

The Ministry of Tourism, in a statement issued yesterday, said it “wishes to acknowledge the gravity of this situation, and to condemn this heinous crime”.

It added: “The safety of our residents and visitors is paramount. Efforts have been made to implement stronger management of the jet ski industry in recent years, but more must be done. Combined efforts by the public and private sectors will be stepped up to ensure that our visitors can enjoy our water sports attractions without fear for their safety or well-being.”

The Ministry of Tourism pledged to work with the Ministry of Transport on “extreme measures” for tougher regulation of the water sports industry.

Last year, amid similar sexual assault allegations, The Cove at Atlantis warned its guests against renting jet skis on Cabbage Beach. It warned that doing so is “at your own risk.”

A copy of a letter to guests of The Cove - one of the Atlantis resort’s hotels – noted: “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 told guests that water sports operators are not associated with the hotel, and that the industry is “minimally regulated.”

In March this year, the US Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) cautioned US citizens travelling to the Bahamas for spring break to “avoid jet ski operators” because these individuals “continue to commit sexual assaults and other crimes against tourists, including US citizens”.

The OSAC also cautioned US Embassy personnel not to use jet ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Island, including Cabbage Beach and Cable Beach. The department also “strongly” recommended they “avoid patronising Jet Ski rental operations.”

Last year, a 29-year-old jet ski operator was remanded to prison without bail after being charged with the sexual assault of a 24-year-old woman on Athol Island on January 2. As a result of that incident, the US Embassy in Nassau also “prohibited” its employees from using jet ski rentals in Nassau.

In December 2015, police arrested a jet ski operator in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a female visitor. That incident also took place at Cabbage Beach. 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.

Comments

Groidal 2 years, 2 months ago

"Alleged" crimes? Are you kidding me?? Everyone knows these scumbag thug jetski "operators" are a thinly veiled front for an organized criminal organization that openly promotes drug dealing, weapons dealing and sexual violence on Bahamian beaches.

Women are attacked daily by these criminal thugs on our beaches, drugs and weapons are dealt openly in front of tourists and the entire Bahamian tourist industry that we all depend on to put food on our children's tables is being dragged through the mud.

Something needs to be done and these criminal thugs need to be put in prison sooner rather than later!

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banker 2 years, 2 months ago

According to John, older women are flocking to the Bahamas in huge numbers, begging for sex from young Black men, and that is the root of the problem. It is those damn pre-menopausal women causing the black-eye to tourism, because they can't stay away from the Big Bamboo. SMT.

Mr. Rolle just validated the argument that the industry is populated with undesirables.

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John 2 years, 2 months ago

Banker it was "not according to John." It was according to sources i quoted and referenced. Why are you trying to be so disingenuous? I guess you, banker, are going to blame the other rape that occurred on the jet ski operators as well? If there is a problem with the jet ski industry then fix it, but do not cry wolf just because you have ulterior motives. You are sick!

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banker 2 years, 2 months ago

I know, I am a sick, ignorant, racist who hates my own people because I do not fit into your worldview. Anyone who disagrees with your worldview is wrong. Bahamians are angels, foreigners are evil and everyone is against us. My bad. I cannot see that. I guess that I will never attain the state of enlightenment that you seem to possess. It must have been all the poison in the weed which affects my thinking, that the CIA put to keep the Black man down -- according to one of your earlier posts.

I give up. I admit that I am sick, ignorant and stupid. It is a wonder that I can type. I bow to your superior intellect and your religious rectitude.

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by banker

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John 2 years, 2 months ago

"Jet ski operators are supposed to be vetted by police. We have Port Authority officers stationed on the beaches. Operators are also not supposed to ride with guests, so I don’t know how these incidents happen, but they shouldn’t happen if people are doing their job.”

Blockquote

It takes two to tango and if the jet ski renters(tourists) are informed of this regulation (that they are not supposed to ride with the operator of the jet ski) and they choose to disobey it, then they are as just as responsible for their experience.

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banker 2 years, 2 months ago

We need a travel ban on horny, middle-aged white women who come here to tempt and destroy the reputation of our upstanding jetski operators. The sex demanded by these wrinkled crones with red lipstick will destroy a jetski operator's chance of getting into Harvard because they couldn't resist the temptation of these wicked, painted-lady sirens with huge droopy mammary glands. Better yet, let's build a wall to keep them out. Brilliant sir -- quite brilliant! I applaud your wisdom.

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baldbeardedbahamian 2 years, 2 months ago

BRILLIANT, YOU JUST SOLVED THIS PROBLEM.

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sealice 2 years, 2 months ago

Really the problem was fat white chicks from the NE USA and Canada all along??? Wonder why all those Fat Fruck PLP's couldn't figure this out??? Come on Shane we know you like the white foreigners (anna cornhole smith) ??? you couldn't have warned Hand Held, the Port department and Obie about the Fat White Chick Conspiracy to kill da Golden Goose??

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ashley14 2 years, 2 months ago

Wow my self confidence as a well maintain middle aged white women would be shot if I hung out with you. Some people think I'm attractive. I'm not looking forward to becoming a wrinkled crone with huge droopy mammary glands. Now were going to build a wall to keep us out. Thank god that everyone doesn't see us that way. I suppose this didn't include middle aged men (white or black). I don't see color!

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John 2 years, 2 months ago

The truth does need defense, because the only thing that can offend it is a lie. You go girl! I write to express my opinion. what is your motive to try discredit everything I say except that ....never mind. You already know.

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John 2 years, 2 months ago

How many agents did China execute?

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 2 months ago

Sooooooo, who polices the straw-craft vendors??????? ......... hair-braiders????? ...... fish&conch vendors??????? ............... peanut vendors????????? ......... newspapers boys?????? ......... packing boys??????? ........... Get my drift??????? ....#protectyourjob

If the jet-ski owners' association would just take charge of their industry, ......... smdh

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