Protecting visitors and the places they frequent remains “a matter of priority for the Government,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, A. Missouri Sherman-Peter said.

She was addressing the recent Grand Bahama Security Council’s third annual symposium on behalf of Minister of National Security the Hon. O A T “Tommy” Turnquest.

“Crime and security initiatives yield best results when they are the product of cooperation and collaboration,” said Mrs. Sherman-Peter. “Countering crime and criminality is everybody’s business.”

The Symposium was a joint venture between the Ministry of Tourism and the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Security Council.

Participants were drawn from the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Department of Immigration, the Customs Department and security personnel who work in hospitality and tourism locations.

The Ministry of National Security also has responsibility for licensing private security firms and officers.

Minister Turnquest, she said, was supportive of the symposium “because of its potential to improve safety and security in The Bahamas overall.

“We understand fully that the tourism industry is the engine of growth of our economy.

“We also fully appreciate that safety and security is an overriding factor attracting tourists.

“Any increase in crime in a tourism destination becomes immediately noticeable, and even more so when it is the subject of travel advisories.”

It has been The Bahamas’ experience that crime against tourists “is low,” she said.

“The position of Government, Police Force and concerned stakeholders is that our visitors ought to be safe in The Bahamas,” said Mrs. Sherman-Peter.

“This is the concept underpinning current, stepped up initiatives for tourism policing in New Providence.

“It takes the position that any crime against a visitor is one crime too many.”

The Government is investing in technology and transportation to keep the Royal Bahamas Police Force “on the cutting edge of law enforcement,” she said.

The Police Force has indicated its willingness to train private security personnel to better carry out their functions, she said.

“This is a positive development, as it enhances the professionalism and capability of the private security officers concerned,” said Mrs. Sherman-Peters.

The Government is also consulting with the stakeholders in tourism, in its quest to enhance the safety and security of visitors.

Last May 29, “very useful consultations were held between the Hotel Association and the Minister of National Security, in which innovations such as CCTV were discussed. This is a matter now being actively pursued,” she said.