Bad as it seemed and sounded, the November 4 incident involving a Barbadian passenger landing in Florida with a loaded gun after passing through security at Grantley Adams International Airport has not affected the island’s tourism industry.
That’s the word from Barbados’ Tourism Minister Lisa Cummings.
The passenger, 85-year-old former police sergeant Cameron Hinds, was apprehended by Miami customs officials with the loaded gun in his pocket after he’d carried it aboard the airplane in a laptop bag; surprisingly, he had the felony case against him officially dismissed and allowed to return to Barbados.
However, the female security guard who attended to the elderly passenger at the Barbados airport was fired by G4S, the private firm she was employed with for over 20 years – and has indicated she’ll challenge her dismissal in court.
The issue put Barbados in world headlines four days after the island became a republic, and it was feared it would harm the tourism-dependent island’s reputation.
There’s been much speculation about the incident, including the likelihood of a possible official “sting” operation.
But the minister, in an exclusive interview with Saint Lucia News Online (SNO), said the island’s tourism wasn’t affected.
Asked if the incident might have affected tourism and travel industry, Minister Cummings replied, “That incident was unfortunate, without doubt.”
But added, “it has not impacted travel and tourism (in Barbados) in any way.”