(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has called on residents of Tobago to frown upon crimes against tourists.
The Prime Minister spoke briefly with the media during a tour of the major infrastructural projects on the island yesterday, one of which was the brand new Old Grange Police Station at Shirvan.
Rowley said he is disappointed when he hears about crimes committed against visitors.
He said, “When we put so much effort into trying to make the place attractive for visitors and then some idiot goes and does something like that and undoes everything that we have done, because it gives the place a name that we don’t want.”
He said while crimes committed against visitors are a common occurrence in many destinations“we just have to keep encouraging the young people to see a different kind of future.”
He also encouraged parents to speak wit children to adopt lifestyles, which would keep them out of prison.
Rowley, who is also responsible for projects under the oversight of Udecott visited several sights including, the Roxborough Administrative Centre and the sight for the Courland Fire Station.
Also on the tour was Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Nadine Stewart-Phillips who assured that officers of the Tourism-Oriented Policing Unit will increase patrols in areas often visited by tourists after two couples were attacked, in separate incidents, earlier this month.
“The TTPS stated that it intends to intensify bicycle patrols in high traffic areas and trails frequented by visitors as well as to train more bicycle patrol officers,” Stewart- Phillips said in a statement after meeting with the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited and the Division’s Senior Superintendent of Police acting Jeffrey George.
On February 3, a Canadian couple was attacked at Grafton Beach. They were beaten and robbed of their wallet and US$ 15, visa and master card and a cell phone.
And days later, a British couple was held up at gunpoint at the Arnos Vale beach in Plymouth. The assailant made off with TT$ 100, US$ 60 and a canon camera.
This is the second attack on tourists, in Tobago, in over a year. Last year, one tourist was a victim of theft.
In giving the assurance, Stewart- Phillips said the police were using surveillance cameras and community outreach programmes. The latter measure is geared towards getting tourism industry stakeholders and locals to use best practice safety measure to protect themselves and tourists.
Speaking on the increased patrols, George told Guardian Media that officers from the Tourism-Oriented Policing Unit are “in the area (of the two robberies) and paying special attention.”
Some 20 officers from the unit were praised for their work during the 2017/2018 cruise ship season which ran from November 15, 2017, to May 9, 2018.
Meanwhile, William Bronte, who owns Arnos Vale Hotel, which is located near to the scene of the latest tourists’ attack, said he is disturbed by the news.
“ The area is lonely and I always had at least two security people in the area to ensure tourists’ safety, now I have one person. Still, it’s disturbing to hear that people were attacked in the area,” Bronte said.
He said no one, except the caretaker, is allowed on the premises.
“ The place is not abandoned as I have been paying people weekly to take care of the place, but when you are not on site to see how people treat your property, you sometimes suffer,” Bronte added.
He said the area is “beautiful and people will want to visit it, but they must be careful to only go there in a group.”