Cruise line considering additional crime warnings
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Sep 30, 2015
Carnival Cruise Line said it found the British and Canadian governments’ crime warnings regarding the increased attacks on tourists in The Bahamas to be “disturbing” and advised that it is reconsidering issuing separate crime warnings to its guests, according to a correspondence The Nassau Guardian obtained.
Vice President of Carnival’s Commercial Port Operations Carlos Torres de Navarra expressed those concerns in an email to Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe on August 31.
“We believe you are aware of the attached newly issued advisories from the UK and Canada,” he said. “What we find disturbing about these advisories is the newest reference to an increased number of [crimes] directed towards tourists.
“Because of this we are now reconsidering the issuance of separate advisories to our guests upon arrival into Nassau.
“At your earliest convenience I would appreciate a call to discuss before we move forward. We continue to appreciate the strong relationship with The Bahamas, thus the direct message from us and not via any other entity.”
Torres de Navarra sent follow-up messages to the minister on September 3 and September 26 after Wilchcombe did not respond to his initial email.
In his last email, Torres de Navarra said, “Minister I have yet to hear from you on this important matter.”
Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu was copied on all the emails.
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney referred to the email in a statement and blasted the Christie administration for not addressing the country’s crime problem.
“We are informed that security advisories will be issued by the cruise line as early as this week,” McCartney said in a statement.
“The last time this occurred in 2013, hardly any tourists left the ships and the country suffered. It is believed that if the separate security advisory is issued by Carnival, the other cruise lines will follow suit.”
When contacted last night, Wilchcombe said he did not receive the emails from Torres de Navarra and claimed that his government email account may have been hacked.
He said he reported the matter to the police after speaking with Torres de Navarra yesterday afternoon.
“I never received emails,” Wilchcombe said.
“So I’ve asked the police the police to investigate.
“I was shocked. The reality is we have a wonderful relationship with Carnival.
“My concern is why didn’t it arrive at my desk? How did he (McCartney) end up with the email? It is a very serious question and a very serious issue. A responsible member would call me in the first place. His actions are unbecoming of someone who wants to be a prime minister. He should have been more responsible.”
It is unclear if McCartney has a copy of the emails. In his statement he said he was “reliably informed” about the correspondence.
Meantime, Wilchcombe said he remains concerned about the level of crime in the country but said he has not received any reports that crimes against visitors have increased as the crime advisories state.
The British and Canadian governments raised concerns about the safety of their citizens in The Bahamas last month.
When asked about the cruise line’s crime warnings, Carnival Vice President of Public Relations Jennifer de la Cruz said, “We routinely evaluate the destinations we visit to try to ensure we are communicating appropriate information to our guests on how they can best enjoy the destinations while at the same time safeguard themselves against unfortunate events.
“At the present time we are continuing to provide our guests with the same security-related messaging we have been providing for some time now with respect to Nassau.”
She added that the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association lines will meet with Wilchcombe in Mexico next week during the annual FCCA meeting.
Wilchcombe said he would address any concerns that Carnival has at that time.