Just recently, at a gathering during the August school vacation, a group comprising several families was talking about the tranquillity that overcame them the moment they arrived in Tobago. It was almost unanimous, that aside from a few common problems, vacationing in the sister isle gave one the feeling of being in an entirely different country. One couple thatfrequents Grenada and other small regional countries likened the atmosphere in Tobago to these nations, only that they didn’t need a passport or foreign exchange to enjoy some peace and quiet away from the clamour that permeates Trinidad. And we agree. Tobago does still possess that atmosphere of calm that is at the top of the checklist when choosing any vacation destination.
But Tobago is by no stretch of the imagination, free from our biggest bugbear, crime, that one thing that seems to be the catalyst of all ills facing us as a nation. High profile, brutal murders of foreigners, especially some years ago, along with home invasions, rapes and other criminal activity have tarnished the image of Tobago. However, the attractiveness of the island has not suffered severely among Trinidadians, most likely because these crimes do not occur as frequently as they do here in Trinidad and also because foreign nationals and businesses seem to be the targets…most of the times. However, that false sense of security may not last much longer.
The murder of a gyro vendor in Crown Point earlier this month and the assault of a British national on Black Rock Beach last week will do nothing to bolster confidence in Tobago. In fact, there have been several reports over the last few months of attacks against tourists in the Black Rock area. Is there a pattern of behaviour that the police should be examining in that tourist-rich area? Has the police become more lax with security recently allowing crime to show its ugly face again? There are no guarantees that Trinis vacationing there would be immune from crime, whether the criminals are caught or not.
With declining oil and gas reserves and nothing else in hand to bolster our economy, Tobago might just find itself playing a greater part in keeping food on our tables in the near future. Those in charge might want to consider putting all resources possible behind security on the island to minimise these instances that could permanently blemish the image of the serenity that still remains. While the flow of foreign tourists hasdiminished significantly due to crime over the last two decades, Tobago does not need its remaining source of tourism dollars, that is Trinidadians, taking their vacation spend elsewhere because of a completely avoidable nuisance called crime.