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Police Officers Participate in Tourism Security Course
By Betty Vedrine
Nov 15, 2011 - 12:08:25 AM

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Minister of National Security, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest delivers the keynote address opening the five-day Tourism Security Specialises Training Course which is being held at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre November 14 – 18. The event is a joint partnership including the Organisation of American States, The Government of The Bahamas with financial support from the Government of Canada. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna).

Nassau, Bahamas - Tourism security in The Bahamas is receiving a boost as a result of a partnership, which includes the Inter-American Committee on Terrorism of the Organisation of American States (CICTE), the Government of the Bahamas and the Government of Canada.

On Monday, November 14, over one hundred police officers commenced a five-day course, which focuses on safety in the tourism sector. The Minister of National Security, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest, officially opened the event, which is being held at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre.

“Visitor safety and security are vital to providing quality tourism,” said Mr. Turnquest. “More than any other economic activity, the success or failure of a tourism destination depends on that particular country being able to provide a safe and secure environment for visitors.”

Mr. Turnquest added that safety and security play a major role in making travel choices, making this course an extremely important one for the country.

“The Bahamas has an enviable perception of being a safety country, and this is among our major assets as a tourism destination,” said Mr. Turnquest. He said that it is a factor that has served the country well and is expected to remain in the future as the government continues to ensure the safety of tourists, particularly with undertakings as the tourism security course.

“The government of The Bahamas fully understands the importance of having in place proper safety and security measures for the tourism sector,” he said. “Through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Tourism and the private sector, we have taken steps to enhance security in the areas most frequented by visitors.”

To this, said the Minister, there is a well trained highly equipped Tourism Police Unit, staffed with uniform and plain-clothes officers that focuses on highly trafficked visitor and resort areas.

“The Ministry of Tourism also has in place, ‘Ask Me’ Tourism ambassadors who have easy and coordinated communications contact with the Tourism Police Unit to ensure prompt response in emergency situation.”

Mr. Turnquest said that this past calendar year alone, more than $14 million has been spent on providing resources for the Police Force, inclusive of patrol cars, protective gear, bicycles and communication equipment and the Tourism Police Unit has been fully resourced.

He also expressed gratitude to the Bahamas Hotel Association for their pilot programme, ‘Tourism Safety and Security Network’ for the pilot programme it has launched in three New Providence high schools where high school students can attain certification under its Safety and Security Officer Programme (SSOP).

Also bringing remarks were Mrs. Juliet E. Mallet Phillips, OAS Representative to The Bahamas, Mr. Alejandro Diaz de Leon, CICTE Secretariat Programme Manager and Mr. Andres Otero, Regional Director of Kroll.

The five-day conference ends Friday, November 18.

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