News & Current Affairs - Friday, March 13, 2009 19:22
$10,000 bounty on the head of Terry Schwarzfeld’s attackerBy Antillean, News Monitor Service
Update – March 18, 2009: Terry Schwarzfeld has died. More…
The Government of Barbados is stepping up its criminal investigation into the attack on Terry Schwarzfeld, the Canadian visitor who was attacked in Barbados on February 28 on Long Beach. Commissioner of Police, Darwin Dottin (pictured), announced in a special press conference today that BDS$10,000 (CDN$ 6,443) is being offered for information leading to the attacker’s arrest, while the Police Force investigates a number of tips coming through on Crimestoppers Barbados.
The Commissioner also outlined plans for increased police presence in tourist areas, mooting the idea of setting up a dedicated Police tourist unit and monitoring all tourist excursions on the island.
The Police Force has also revealed the crime rate against tourists: of 1.2 million visitors to Barbados last year, 242 reported crime against them – a crime rate of 0.02%.
CBC Barbados carries the full report:
The man who robbed and assaulted two Canadians at Long Beach in Christ Church now has a price on his head.
This is part of the plan announced by the police as they launch an all-out offensive against tourist related crime.
He said they have interviewed several persons and have used crime stoppers to help to find the assailant. Shortly they plan to offer a $10,000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest of the Long Beach assailant.
Commissioner Darwin Dottin says the force is not close to solving the Long Beach incident but finding the culprit is now the first order of business.
He has told a press conference that a team of top detectives has been assigned to the case.
Commissioner Dottin has also revealed that the force has come up with a plan for tackling visitor related crime.
It’s entitled policing the Tourism Sector 2009. The plan makes provision for dedicated patrols in tourist frequented areas as well as random visits.
Commissioner Dottin has also revealed that the force will be taking some other serious steps to prevent attacks on visitors.
They include the installation of surveillance cameras at designated sites, the establishment of a special patrol and co-ordination of information on land tours.
Commissioner Dottin says he has met with the diplomatic corps and has assured the members that Barbados is still a safe country and the crime rate remains one of the lowest in the region¹.
Earlier in the day, the Government also outlined plans for stepped up security on Long Beach. Already, potential hiding areas have been cleared and there has been a marked increase in police patrols. The Nation newspaper reports:
Stepped beach patrols have been put into effect at Long Beach, Christ Church, where an unknown attacker beat up two Canadian tourists, one of whom is said to be in poor condition.
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and Member of Parliament for the area, Dr Denis Lowe, visited the location yesterday and spoke of plans to make it more secure.
There will be also a general debushing of the area and police kiosks will be set up.
Sealy said clearing up the area would be tackled sensitively, since most of the vegetation was there to prevent beach erosion.
The tour of Long Beach was prompted by the attack on Canadian tourists Terry Schwarzfeld and her daughter-in-law Luana Cotsman while taking a walk on the beach around 4:30 p.m. on February 28.
Schwarzfeld, 60, who was on vacation with her husband and other family members, suffered serious head injuries and was airlifted back to Canada. To date she is still in an unconscious state and doctors say her prognosis is “poor”.
Sealy deemed it an extremely unfortunate incident, adding his and Lowe’s major concern was for Schwarzfeld, her daughter-in-law Cotsman and their family at this critical time of their lives.
Lowe, who also lives in the area, said the incident further showed the need for greater vigilance in areas where tourists came to find rest and relaxation.
He said however, it was encouraging to hear the husband Stephen Cotsman still speaking positively of Barbados.
Cotsman, in an interview with an Ottawan newspaper, said for the past six years they had stayed at the same condo in Barbados.
He said he and his wife had walked the beach at least 50 times and never felt uncomfortable or threatened.
Last week Thursday the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs cautioned visitors “to avoid unattended or isolated areas, including beaches, at any time”.
“Travellers should be particularly vigilant when using Long Beach, where incidents have been reported,” the department added.
Police public relations officer Station Sergeant Anthony Depieza said extensive investigations were in progress.
“We have questioned a number of persons and have been following up a number of leads as we hope to bring the perpetrator to justice as soon as possible.”
Assistant Superintendent Lybron Sobers of the Oistins Police Station Lybron has confirmed there were a number of attacks in the area over the past months, mainly during the day and on women².
Members of the public, tourism stakeholders and the diplomatic corps have been reassured that The Government of Barbados and The Royal Barbados Police Force remain committed to solving this case, and protecting all visitors to Barbados from crime – rare though it may be.
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