Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee has sided against suggestions for special laws to be institutionalised to deal with crime against tourists; instead he wants legislation that takes the entire population into consideration and not any specific grouping.
Fedee spoke to reporters on the heels of a meeting held among various stakeholders in Soufriere which was geared at deciding on a clear policy aimed at reducing crime on yachtsmen and women.
There has been debate as to whether laws should be established against crime on tourists as the island’s economy is dependent on the sector.
Minister of Tourism Dominic Fedee said: “I think incidents of crime… are really, really sensitive and no doubt tourism would be affected, but so would the safety of local people. And so for me the conversation ought not to be a specific policy to deal with crime for tourists but as a country we need to make the country safe for all of us. The citizenry, our children, the elderly, single mothers.”
Fedee called for a holistic approach to deal with the matter.
“We have to make sure that there is a comprehensive effort…These are the things that we need to address[they include] the judicial system. If someone commits a crime, what’s the point of arresting him and not trying him or having the wherewithal to be able to try that case fast enough. I think that all of these things do add and does stymie efforts to reduce the crime. But I don’t wanna separate tourism from the rest of us. I want to say that it continues to be a major concern for the entire country,” he said.
Fedee reiterated that he does not agree with the notion that government should establish criminal laws specific to tourists as it is the entire country that is affected by crime and needs to be safe, not just visitors.
“No, I don’t subscribe to it. What I subscribe to is a national policy to make this country safe for all of us, whether we’re tourists or citizens,” he said.