Grenada’s Tourism Minister Peter David says the island remains an “extremely safe destination’’ despite the negative publicity is getting.
He was responsing to questions about the potential impact on tourism of the death of Oscar Bartholomew, following his alleged beating by police officers attached to the St. David’s police Station.
David added that despite what the outcome of the current investigations, the government intends to ensure that the island remains a safe place for residents and tourists alike.
The 39-year-old Grenadian, who resided in Canada and was visiting his homeland with his Canadian-born wife, died at the General Hospital where he was taken after he was allegedly beaten in the head by officers at the St. David’s Police Station.
Officers of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force, who are conducting a probe into the Boxing Day incident in St. David, have so far charged two policemen with manslaughter.
“This is a tragedy on all counts, especially for the Bartholomew family,’’ said Mr. David, who is also Minister of Civil Aviation and Culture.
“Like all Grenadians, including all my colleagues in government, we would have preferred this not to have happened to anyone, particularly to a national who was visiting with his wife,’’ the minister added. “But from the perspective of visitor safety, and in comparison to other tourist-dependent nations of the world, Grenada still is – and will continue to be – an extremely safe destination for travelers from around the world.’’
Over the weekend, David met with Bartholomew’s mother Andrianna and his wife, Dolette, following the request of the family’s lawyer Derick Sylvester, who said they had expressed interest in meeting with government representatives.
Mr. David conveyed his sympathies to the couple and their families, and again extended government’s condolences that were first expressed earlier in the week by Prime Minister Hon. Tillman Thomas.
For Sylvester, having the Minister David meet with the two grieving Bartholomew family members was “a step in the right direction.’’©