The boardwalk in Villa that runs outside several tourism establishments. (iWN photo)

The manager of a hotel along the tourism strip in Villa is expressing concern about beachfront security at nights.

Kim Halbich, manager of Paradise Inn Hotel, expressed concern to iWitness News after two guests at her hotel were robbed along the boardwalk while walking from the nearby Mangoz Restaurant and Bar, to their hotel around 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

“We need to have more patrols. They used to do a lot more, I am not seeing as much as they used to do before. I don’t know what is the reason. I guess until something happens they won’t come back,” Halbich said.

An adult male robbed U.S.-based Vincentians Christa Gumbs and her only child, Olivia Kirby, along the boardwalk while two youths, said to look no older than 13, kept lookout.

Halbich was happy with the speedy response of the police after the crime was reported, saying they arrived within 15 minutes.

“So, that was good. Normally, sometimes you wait for a long time. Everybody assisted. … The thing about it, we definitely would like to have more patrols. I mean, honestly, the guest can’t walk out on the beach in the night for fear of something like this. That’s not good,” Halbich told iWitness News.

She said that had hotel staff seen the guests exit the hotel at that hour via the beachfront gate that leads to the boardwalk, they would have advised them to take the main road.

“Obviously, it is a big problem though. You know what happened to me here, where I was robbed at gunpoint. I didn’t lose anything but masked men came.

“The thing about it, there needs a lot more security in the area. If we are moving towards tourism, if we have international airport and more guests and hotels are asked to do more rooms and everything, security and police presence have to be stepped up.”

Gumbs told iWitness News that she and her daughter were robbed along a dark area of the boardwalk.

Halbich said that the lighting along the public access way is inadequate.

“It has to be a lot better and I am the one that organised to get the little lighting that they have right now.

“Obviously, it is not enough. I think it needs to be more, but, honestly, I think they need a police presence on Young Island Dock on evenings, and somebody walking up and down, because that’s where most of the people hang out — unsavoury, but I don’t want to say it’s so, because there are some who are really good and there are some that are really bad, and I have to live among them.

“What I would like to say is that they need police presence in that area. The strip. People walk from Mariners [Hotel] to Beachcombers [Hotel].

“If she [Gumbs] had asked, because as a woman, I would not have walked. Even I live here, I’d say to my husband I am going to Beachcombers, watch me while I go down.

“So, I would not have advised. When guests ask me if it is okay to, I would say, ‘Listen, it is better to walk on the road where it is lighted.’ If it is a group, I’d say, ‘No problems.’ But I would not advise a couple or especially two ladies alone to do it, because you never know. You don’t take unnecessary chances and it is not lighted, it is really dark.”

Halbich said that the manner in which the crime against her guest was committed suggests that the perpetrators are very familiar with the area.

“And the people know what they are doing. They waited until they stepped off in the darkest area of the boardwalk and it is unstable footing, because you are stepping off the wooden [walkway] onto the beach, where there are some rock, so they couldn’t run.

“And I think they are just sitting there, waiting, they didn’t plan for them, but they are waiting for anybody they could rob. Because it is obviously a crime of convenience. It just happened to be them. They are sitting there waiting to rob people. That’s how I see it,” she said.

22 replies on “Hotelier concerned about security along tourism strip”

  1. What a pathetic excuse for a boardwalk: much too short and narrow to begin with now allowed to decay like all our other so-called tourist amenities.

    1. I am not sure who is responsible to upgrade or maintain and who even owns this boardwalk so I’m asking you Ben………after we answer those question then solutions should be implemented but crime in general is becoming to familiar an in my view a state of emergency .

      1. The government which built the boardwalk on Crown land should tear it down and rebuilt a proper proper with ample lighting.

        As for the crime rate, all we can do is hunker down and pray for the Second Coming of the Messiah to deliver us from this hell on earth. Mere mortals, especially our deeply incompetent and crime-tolerant Vincie variety (tolerant because all these criminals have a mother who raised them as thieves or worse plus a lot of what is robbed and stolen is bought by supposedly law-abiding citizens), could never turn the current “state of emergency around.”
        Buy a gun, AI, and lock yourself in your house after dark is the only advise I can offer.

  2. Why can’t they not have a man security 24 hours? That’s what they are paid for not to sleep and doze of on the job.

    1. The hotel grounds are in a fairly secure place day and night.

      Are you asking for (unarmed) security in a public space far from the hotel property day and night as well, something that is unheard of anywhere in the world?

  3. Like seriously Kim Halbich/ You are running a hotel and you cant provide proper security for your quests? What about CCTV and have the surroundings and path to your hotel properly monitored and patrolled by security personnel They dont patrol as often as before? We cannot expect the Police to be everywhere. Proprietors of business places need to take the initiative to install security cameras and implement security measures and stop expecting the Police alone to maintain law and order keep the peace prevent crime and solve crime when they occurs.Without the help of the public and responsible business owners the Police job becomes twice as hard Please get involve in the crime prevention movement.

    1. This happened well off the hotel property plus the security in place are not armed. The simple fact is that SVG is not a safe place to walk about in after dark.

  4. Should the precious presence of the police be wasted staking out on a beach/waterfront in the dead of night (where no one really should be, with the spate of violent crimes in SVG) while our busy kingstown streets and the likes are left infested with dangerous criminals to pounce upon and terrorize our innocent law abiding citizens? Just think about it. Smh!

    1. The police presence is not “wasted” at locations like those once it is known that there is often criminal element in the place. Why shouldn’t we and our visitors be able to enjoy this country at any time of day or night? The police force is sufficiently large to patrol both Kingstown while still being present at other sensitive areas. I wonder what would happen when ( if ever) mount wynne and Peters hope becomes the newest tourist hub.

  5. some of the comments above baffled me …………business owners are responsible for security only on their property and should not be responsible for policing beyond their premises . Thats the job of the SVRPF and get paid by the tax payers of these hotel companies . So Ms.Kim and company have very credible reasons to voice their concerns . The Government should even have more concern because of who these criminals are targeting , based on national interest and need to implement some new strategies to combat crime on a whole . I have couple suggestions.

    1) Implement a police parameter around sensitive and tourists locations and have police checkpoints .
    2) make it mandatory that residents and citizens obtain and carry personal identification cards.
    3) more collaborated patrols by police , defense force and coastguards
    4) offer reward money to information leading to arrest for serious crimes and crimes against tourists plus harsher punishments from the courts for offenders .
    5) create a cyber/internet crime unit if not yet available
    6) create a data base of criminal deportees returning to SVG , with personal info including photo and fingerprints and share info with Interpol
    7) setup mobile police command posts in strategic points of the country collaboration with the defense force .

    Above are my few but impotant solutions which must start by the Gov. admittanxe that there is a serious crime problem and the PM and police commissioner along with other responsible offices needs to address and deal with urgently . There should also be a collaboration between law enforcement and the hoteliers association to come up with additional strategies to combat crime in the tourist field .

    1. Would never happen, not because you don’t make many reasonable and intelligent suggestion but because of the many sins, some of them deadly, our public guardians, including the police, are guilty of.

      These are sloth (also called laziness which is a narrower notion); gluttony (notice how fat so many of our officers are: if many ever tried to run down a thief, they would have a heart attack); indifference ( no care, no shame attitude); ignorance (both inherited and learned); apathy (an extreme form of indifference); and incompetence (a product of low intelligence, poor recruitment, and inadequate training).

      We are not called a Third World country, or worse, without reason.

      1. lols in some ways I am fearful to admit you may be right …….but im not willing to give up HOPE

        We need a purge of the old thinking ideologies on both sides of Gov. and look toward fresh modern intelligent innovative leaders whether young or old

  6. Cecelia Thomas says:

    It saddens me to hear that it was common knowledge about the possibility of danger around that time of night and nothing is posted in your guest house to say Please do not use boardwalk after dusk for your safety. The guess should have asked? Serious. Agree with Mr Brown totally. You could have even had some one designated to nicely suggest this choice to your guests at checking in if you didn’t want to post it. Or make a note in their room . What you revealed will hurt your business more than it helps. Very poor excuse for business. SVG for real

    1. Why not just refuse to book any guests when they try to register because our little piece of paradise has become a crime hellhole. Dumb and dumber, Cecelia.

      1. Ceceiia … you seriously cant be blaming the hotelier for this crime . know the facts then analyse what you are really saying in your comment .
        But in terms of hotels posting signs or oral advisories I can agree slightly except negative public announcements can possibly backfire on the business so its important to weigh these options.

        lol Ben so rude ….

      2. AI, being “rude,” as you term it — which I call challenging ignorance — is my middle name.

        AI, our very own simple-minded people are our worst enemy.

        AI, the best and brightest of our young people post on this site. So what does it say about the rest of our people?

  7. I remember when the short section of boardwak was constructed. It was a nice little addition to help navigate the area since the water and tide was tricky at that spot. However, in just a few short years the condition of the boardwalk went downhill, not from the elements, but rather from the lack of respect by some of the locals. I personally have seen some people knock railing off and use it for sitting on the beach at night. And yes, that was railing a few years back, now just a boardwalk with post sticking up as seen in picture.The government wanted to construct the walk the entire length of the stretch of beach, but hotel owners objected for good reasons. Some people have no respect for property, the environment, or lawfulness on the island. I have personally gone on villa beach late afternoon/early morning and picked up trash left behind by locals. Bottles, discarded food containers, wrappers, etc. I have also removed graffiti that was written on the wall in front of Sunset Shores Hotel. Even the so called tourist police are only on the beach during off peak days. It’s easier to find someone smoking/selling weed, than to find law enforcement presence.

    1. Your observations actually reflect conditions and behaviour on the entire mainland yet we are still trying to boost our tourism numbers, a hopeless task not only because of your accurate comments but because of our lack of desirable mainland attractions.

      Still, the boardwalk was never “a nice little addition” because it was built on the cheap using cheap materials, was never repaired (see the flooring in the photo that clear shows this; the boards soon deteriorated because of the elements and the inferior lumber used) and was much too short and narrow to be of any value.

  8. You are quite right Anon in fact the whole area is full of midnight farmers, wholesalers, retailer and users of weed. The police know that now and have known that for years they simply join the group somewhere in the chain for their cut. Real problem is it is also an area where crack and powder cocaine is being traded. That is why it is so dangerous to walk there.

    Blame the law from the top down for what is going on in all areas of this crime wave.

Comments are closed.