Crime wave caused cancellations at local hotels
Nadir says media must be more responsible Stabroek News
June 16, 2002

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The current crime situation has resulted in some visitor cancellations at local hotels and tourist resorts for the peak season, July and August, Tourism Minister Manzoor Nadir said.

Responding to questions during a briefing on his first year in office as Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce on Friday, Nadir inferred that the publicity through the media given to the crime situation might be partly responsible for the cancellations and might affect the local tourism industry.

However, he said that so far tourists have not been the target of bandits adding that they were relatively safe as the tour operations were outside the areas bandits operate in.

In spite of all that was being said, Nadir said, that the crime situation was not peculiar to Guyana and attracting tourists in spite of criminal activities was "something we have to make a breakthrough in." In spite of all that was being said about the crime situation locally, he noted that "Jamaica now count six policemen dead in their tourism capital of Montego Bay."

Stating the need to increase the volume of tourists to Guyana and to be able to convince them that they will be relatively safe here, Nadir said that the media has greater responsibility.

He recalled that when the cruise ship, MV Clipper Adventure was coming to Guyana in March, he did not ask the media to sensor their news in relation to crime but alongside the coverage of the cruise ship that brought in US$50,000 to the countryís economy on the front pages of the dailies were articles of an $80,000 robbery in Alberttown. Two pages, he said, were devoted to the robbery. One popular commentator on a television station he said remarked that it was because of the robberies that Nadir did not want to bring the tourists ashore.

Nadir said that on a recent visit to Canada and the US, he found that people reading the online editions of the Stabroek News and the Guyana Chronicle on the internet were getting the impression that Guyana was in a state of siege and they would risk life and limb if they came here. That image, he added was not helping to bring people to country. People have told him that every day they go on the internet to see if they recognise who next was killed. "Thatís how bad it is," he added.

He said that probably if the spate of crime continues it would no longer be news and would be considered off the beaten track to warrant going into the third and fourth pages. (Miranda La Rose)