Deal with crimes against tourists in Tobago

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The world is under attack by terrorists, including new kid on the block – ISIS. Look at what has happened in France and Belgium in the last six months. Other countries in Europe have sat up and taken stock, that it could happen to them too.

No where is safe, British national Stephanie Rogers said in Port-of-Spain on Friday as she and others were preparing to return to London. Rogers wanted to visit Tobago on this visit, but decided against it because of the attacks on tourists.

“Trinidad has a high murder rate, but not against tourists. The crime is kept local. But in Tobago, there is a pattern,” she added.

Despite the breakthrough in last year’s murders of Richard Wheeler and his wife Grace in Tobago, tourists are still sceptical of visiting the island.

Tobago, and by extension, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) is not equipped to deal with high profile crimes. With the crime detection rate in the police service at less than nine percent, very few Tobagonians are optimistic that crimes on the island can be solved.

The time has come for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to spend and give resources to the Police Service. Every time a high profile crime occurs in Tobago, police officers from Trinidad are deployed.

Wheeler, 73, was a partner in the law firm LEX Caribbean and a member of the Tobago Chamber of Commerce while his wife, Grace, was a real estate agent with the Tobago company, Island Investments.

Their chopped bodies were discovered by a worker at their Riseland Gardens, Carnbee home sending the usually tranquil community into a state of shock and panic.

According to the police, between 2008 and 2016, there were four incidents where elderly Caucasian foreign families were killed and the modus operandi were all the same, chopped about the body

Seven years ago, in 2008, Anna Sundsval and her companion Oke Olsoon were chopped to death in Bon Accord.

In November 2014, Germans Hubertus and Bridgid Keil were chopped to death at Bacolet Bay.

Both cases remain unsolved.

We cannot forget the attack on British couple Peter and Muriel Green on August 1, 2009. It was a miracle they survived and this has left a very bitter taste in the mouths of this couple who had made Tobago their other home.

Then Minister of Justice Herbert Volney promised compensation to the Greens in early 2011, but to date nothing has happened.

With the prices of oil and gas very low, Trinidad and Tobago must look elsewhere for the US dollars. Tourism is one way, but if we cannot deal with crimes against tourists, and the travel advisories issued by foreign government, we will be spinning top in mud.

Now is the time for action.

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