Mon | Nov 19, 2018

Bartlett orders security audit of hotels

Published:Monday | October 15, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Bartlett

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has ordered an intensive security audit of the tourism sector, including hotels and attractions, as part of efforts to strengthen destination assurance.

"I've directed the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), which is in charge of maintaining quality assurance within the destination, to coordinate an intensive security audit of the sector so as to identify gaps and ensure that the destination remains safe, secure, and seamless for visitors and locals alike. Security arrangements are part of the licensing requirements for many sector operators, so we will apply tough sanctions where breaches and or significant weaknesses are found, " said Bartlett.

The announced move comes a week after a suspect was charged in relation to the alleged rape of two female guests at gunpoint in their room at the RIU Reggae Hotel in

St James.

The suspect, Demar Scott, 24, of Exchange district in Ocho Rios, St Ann, was employed to the hotel when the incident occurred on September 27.

From as far back as March 2, the Manchester police had listed Scott as a person of interest in several rape cases.

In a statement, the tourism ministry said that the Tourism Working Group established recently by Bartlett to conduct a comprehensive review of issues in the sector, and headed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers senior partner Wilfred Baghaloo, will also be a part of the process.

The TPDCo, through its various departments, works closely with all operators of tourism-related facilities promoting the attributes of a quality product, monitoring same, and engaging the relevant authorities in a continuous effort to satisfy consumer demand and expectations. The company adopts, sets, and promotes standards, guidelines, and checklists for the industry in order to attain global competitiveness.

Bartlett added: "Security remains a top priority of my ministry as this is an integral component to maintaining destination assurance. We are committed to ensuring that all visitors and locals feel safe."

The TPDCo will, over the next couple of weeks, review security protocols and issues across the sector and provide recommendations where needed. Tough actions where needed will follow.