Tourism Minister says his comments are being blown out of context

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Tourism Minister says his comments are being blown out of context
Minister Theophilus
Minister Theophilus
Minister Theophilus

Below is a statement posted on popular Facebook group St. Lucians Aiming For Progress (SLAPS) by Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus several hours ago today, Friday, November 13, 2015.

I am really disheartened by this back and forth with the vendors association.

On assuming office I placed a particular emphasis of increasing visitor arrivals and more so volumes in the cruise sector, because visitor expenditure there is more directly felt by our population as it goes directly into the hands of a greater cross section of people.

The purpose for bringing visitors here is for them to spend money. I made a well intentioned statement which was blown out of context by suggesting to the vendors association that they invest in goods and services that are unique to our island as a means of increasing visitor expenditure here. This would also enhance our local craft sector which my Ministry also promotes. In the end it would be a winning fomrmula for our country. For that well-intentioned advice i apologize.

I have not, do not, and will not deny that crime can have a negative impact on our country. I merely stated that when we make public comments which we all have a right to make, we need to do so carefully as these comments themselves can negatively impact visitor arrivals.

An example is the comparison of our country to that with the highest murder rate in the world. Should cruise officials decide to pull ships from this island, many Saint Lucians who’s livelihoods I have toiled for the past few years to protect will suffer. I would hate to see that happen. If this too is not understood I also profusely apologize. I will however continue to press on with my job and see to it that this sector grows, whether the sincerety of my approach is accepted or not.

On a more positive note, cruise numbers should surpass the 700K mark this year. Statistics show that the range of expenditure is about 70 USD. Do the math and tell me if it wouldn’t be better if we could raise the average expenditure to 110 USD per day on items and services that were all local?

My best wishes always
Lorne

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16 COMMENTS

  1. When you learn English as a second language as some of country bookie ministers, you will always talk foolishness because you don't know exactly what you are saying. Therefore it is logical for people to always misunderstand your version of the English Language. You are living in a freaking different world my son. Get an education, sonny! Wheel around and bowl it better dummy!

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  2. We are working hard in Marigot to stop the small amount of harrassment, despite lots of requests for help from government agencies no one helps, Marigot is the second most important tourist destination on the island but this seems to go unrecognised!!!

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  3. Yes Mr. minister if the tourists are continually being mugged and harassed then they Will inform friends and family about their experience whilst visiting our island!! Don't blame it solely on the backs of us locals!! We too have a stake in our islands tourism sector! We are only voicing our concerns as it's blatantly being ignored by both you and others who are in power to keep both us and visitors safe! Stop buring your head in the sand and listen to the people whose lively hood depends on your visitor numbers!! We all have a part to play to enhance our unique product! So exercise your role as minister of tourism to ensure that locals and visitors feel safe in their surroundings!!

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  4. We need to take better stock of ourselves, I figure that's you carry those cannons around , guess you have taken a good look and saw what's out there ........

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  5. Like the vendors said - the minister never came to the arcade or market and they had a point.....the issue is crime on visitors and not what they sell! they had a point!Lorne you made a blunder....well another one.

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  6. Hiding the crime problem will not fix it. We have to confront that beast head-on because it is the bane of our existence. If we need to delay rolling out the new highway to improve security, so be it. Otherwise, you will caught with a new highway, without tourism revenue to pay for it. In actuality, I don't blame Lorne, he is doing his bit to get tourists sneakers on the ground. He is successful at it. The blame lies squarely on "de Minister of Security" and Kenny...period. Between them, they have managed the place into a sh*t hole. This is not hard to figure out how incompetent these guys are. Look, why after all these years there is no mandatory long prison sentence for illegal ownership of guns? This is a key method for deterrence. Instead, we witnessed an anti-gang thingy which was going nowhere from day one. United States law enforcement, with all its money and technology consistently find it difficult to prove individuals are in gangs during RICO cases.

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  7. Your comments were not blown out of context, the vendors understood exactly what you meant. You are trying to play down the crime in the city for the sake of Tourism, but wake up and smell the coffee. What the vendors are asking is that there be a heavier police presence in areas prone to crime such as muggins and bag and chain snatching, for the safety of these same tourist. The president stated tourist are harassed on Jn. Baptiste street, La Place Carenage and in the Arcade. When these crimes happen, the Tourist would not feel safe to go inside the Arcade and walk around to see what the vendors have to offer, but the Minister went on to say that all the Vendors sell the same products like T/Shirts. etc. I do not think that was what the vendors were complaining about. They are also saying that since you became Minister of Tourism in the four years they have never seen your face so how do you know that they all sell the same thing and that they should be more creative

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  8. I am going to leave politics out of this, and I want to add that we need to place focus on crime and tourist harassment etc as this will have detrimental effects but he has a point when he says that we need to focus on the products.
    We need to produce stuff that is unique to St.Lucia. The tourists are complaining about the Chinese products that we sell here and also the similar items that sell in other islands that simply have a name change. That is also being experienced in other islands.
    In 2013 I was on an flight coming from Miami and an American woman seated behind me struck up a conversation with a guy visiting St.Lucia for the first time, se did not know him. She boasted St.Lucia so much also adding that she has traveled the Caribbean frequently and this was her 8th visit to St.Lucia and no other island can compare. I was so proud to be a St.Lucian at that point the way the lady was boasting our island. But you know the only negative thing she said about St.Lucia. She told the guy "Don't waste your time going to the Castries market cuz they carry a lot of Chinese stuff with St.Lucia simply written on it". It was a very interesting conversation.
    My question to government is do we have information readily available to the vendors on the spending habits of the tourists? Do we have any data in relation to the amount of money they spend , the threshold,the size of goods they purchase? Perhaps persons might want to concentrate on making things that are small and can sell and unique to St.Lucia say below USD 10 and easy to transport. Do research online on tourist spending patterns and preference. Do we know what American tourists prefer as oppose to a European tourist? Look how much money Americans like to spend on Art. The vendors can carry out their own surveys and question the tourists on things they like.
    I am subject to correction but do we have workshops etc for these vendors on how they can improve their products. If they are creating their own products, if they are doing it efficiently. If we don't then perhaps Lorne can place some emphasis there.

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    • Everything you said is absolutely true, tourist will only buy souvenirs that are unique to that country. Imagine that you are boasting to a friend about some craft work bought on your visit to the island, only for that friend to tell you look under to see engraved "Made in China". Soooo embarrassing

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      • Man I tell you. And you think the tourist don't know that they simply have to go to Barbados or Dominica and see the same thing. Hell they might even buy a cheap Chinese product in the 99 cent store or off Amazon or ebay, write in "St.Lucia" with a Sharpie and tell their co worker that is what they brought back from the island for them. smh.

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  9. Why don't the minister say the specific things that the government will execute all over St.Lucia to stop crime in general,is the new gang law enforced .What about establishig a local constabulary in each city,town and village to compliment the police entities.What about establishing volunteer groups to participate thus putting a spin of goowill in all the areas of economic activity .

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    • Brilliant idea, if we were not a culture better regarded as de bandes soucere. We cast a blind eye especially if someone is from our party. We get pretty much riled up if the person is on the other side.

      (7)(1)

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