Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
ROYAL Caribbean International’s top executive says New Providence is not a “worrying destination” when it comes to the safety of its passengers.
Michael Bayley, president and chief executive officer, said the assertion was based on RCI's statistics coming out of all 300 of the cruise line’s destinations.
He was asked whether crime and criminal activity was a concern for RCI given a US crime warning issued last month.
“It’s always a concern,” he said in response to a question from The Tribune on Friday before a presentation to the Rotary Club at the Nassau Yacht Club.
“I think we travel to literally over 300 destinations around the world.
“We’re the largest single cruise line, Royal Caribbean International, in the world and so we operate everywhere and it’s always a concern if there are any advisories from any country towards any particular destination in which we are quite frequent. So it’s always a concern.”
He continued: “I think we’ve found when we looked at our statistics in terms of any incidents that occur with our guests, and we are a pretty major cruise line in terms of how many people we bring to the Bahamas…The Bahamas doesn’t come out as a particularly worrying destination, and so it’s not something that we are concerned about.”
The US Department of State issued a “Level Two: Exercise Increased Caution” alert in late February which warned US citizens that violent crime such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault were common in tourist areas in New Providence. The alert noted the vast majority of crimes occurred in the capital and Grand Bahama, but added the Family Islands were not crime-free.
National Security Minister Marvin Dames highlighted the decline of crime in the Bahamas in the aftermath of the damaging travel advisory.
He said last month that the 2018 crime statistics were the best The Bahamas has seen in more than a decade and insisted numbers continue to trend down this year.
“Every country has the right to issue an advisory. A country issues an advisory based on whatever they feel that their citizens ought to know,” he said at the time.
“We would have crunched some numbers during 2018 and from the numbers we would have crunched of matters reported to the police… Any crime against a visitor is one too many, but we feel like those numbers can stack up against any country almost anywhere the world-over.
“We will continue to work with countries from around the world to see how we work together to collectively focus on the things we need to focus on to ensure that we meet a point where we’re all happy.”
He continued: “‘Are we at a place where we’re happy?’ No we are never happy because there is a lot more that we can do and we are doing it, but it is a process. As I said before we did not get here overnight.
“…These things have manifested itself over decades so it’ll take some time for us to address them in a very effective manner so Bahamians and visitors alike can feel safe to move about this country whenever and wherever they choose. I am pleased to say this we are headed in the right direction.”