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Thursday 21 March 2019
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Tobago

Blow to tourism

British women robbed, sexually assaulted at Grafton Beach

Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles speaks last week at ITB Berlin, the world's largest tourism and trade fair.
Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles speaks last week at ITB Berlin, the world's largest tourism and trade fair.

Kinnesha George-Harry

CHIEF SECRETARY Kelvin Charles has strongly condemned the recent attack on two female British tourists at Grafton Beach. Police said the women, aged 33 and 35, were sexually assaulted and robbed around 1.30 am on Monday.

Newsday understands a 34-year-old suspect from Canaan was arrested on Monday.

Charles, who was in Germany last week with a local delegation attempting to attract visitors to the island, expressed disgust with the perpetrator and extended words of comfort to the victims and their families.

He said, “I am deeply saddened as well as annoyed by these attacks. Having recently returned from a mission trip to Germany to promote Tobago’s tourism product, it is seriously disheartening to return to this distasteful news.”

Tourism Secretary Nadine Stewart-Phillips reiterated Charles sentiments and said criminals are undermining the work of her division.

In a press release, Stewart-Phillips described the attacks as “disheartening on many levels." She added, "Everything possible must be done to ensure that these incidents do not become the norm in our peaceful society.”

To the victims and their families, Stewart-Phillips said, “Today we are hurting; indeed, our collective hearts ache if visitors to our island are hurt, because visitors become part our family and we truly appreciate the choice to visit us. The Tobago House of Assembly has been expending much resources to promote 'Destination Tobago' as an ideal tourist destination and our recent mission to Germany has been successful. However, the actions by a few persons are discrediting our efforts and we will not stand for this."

She continued, “I want to give the assurance that this incident is receiving our full attention and that officials of the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation and the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited have since been in contact with the police and key parties involved.”

Monday's attack comes on the heels of the February 6 incident when British tourists Mark and Rosemary Petherick, 66 and 67, were robbed by a man with a gun around 4.30pm at Arnos Vale Beach, Plymouth.

The couple was robbed of TT$101, US$60 and a camera, while they were walking along the beach.

This followed a similar incident on February 3 in which Canadians Ian Roderick and Lina Mac Mullin were assaulted and robbed at Grafton Beach. Police are still investigating both robberies.

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