Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) Release to the Media

Sat, 2005-06-25

“We, the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP), have come to recognize that whenever a visitor to our shores is the victim of a crime, the contrast between the expected experience and the unfortunate event can be most debilitating to all concerned. That is why we empathize so deeply and pray so fervently with the family and friends of any victim of a crime that occurs while they are on vacation to our shores.

We have watched and listened as a few commentators and security experts question the commitment and competence of the law enforcement authorities in the Caribbean in solving crimes. All of this has been precipitated by two events in two of the more than 30 Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking territories that comprise what most people refer to as the Caribbean. Some of the very same commentators have acknowledged that the two jurisdictions in which these events have occurred are generally regarded as safe.

For the past two years, the annual conference of the ACCP spent a considerable amount of time focusing on ways to make the visitor experience incident free. We believe that we have made remarkable progress considering the very, very limited number of incidents affecting the more than forty million visitors that come to our Caribbean shores every year. Despite the number of very high profile events that have garnered a great deal of publicity, in most of our jurisdictions, crimes against visitors are at an all time low despite rising numbers of visitors.

We are very proud of the training and development that our law enforcement agencies have received from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Holland. Most of the techniques employed in law enforcement and investigation are in accordance with the highest international standards and we have never hesitated to bring additional investigatory and law enforcement resources in from outside our territory whenever it is warranted.

We encourage our visitors to employ common sense safety practices while in the Caribbean (such as always being aware of one's surroundings, securing valuables, and not opening hotel room doors to strangers to name a few).

We take all crime seriously in the Caribbean and we continue to work closely with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, The Caribbean Hotel Association and the individual tourism organizations in all our territories. The safety of our visitors as well as our residents is of paramount importance to us. We are very mindful that the Caribbean region remains untouched by terrorist activity that has plagued many other tourist destinations and regions and we continue to work with all international jurisdictions to ensure that we remain so. Coupled with the Caribbean's reputation for providing excellent service and hospitality, we work fiercely to deserve our image as a safe haven for our visitors and will continue to employ every effort and resource available to maintain and protect our visitors, our residents, our borders and our tourism product.”

We wish to remind individuals whose duty and responsibility are to inform and educate the public of developments regarding the crime situation in any region or jurisdiction to do so responsibly and based on facts. Incidents of criminal acts should never be promoted or presented as the everyday reality of life in a particular region or jurisdiction, when this is not in fact the experience of many who live and visit these locations.

We also wish to emphasize the need for citizens and visitors alike to employ simple and sensible safety precautions that will avert the possibility of them becoming victims of the criminal elements in our midst, wherever we may be.