ACCP countries to learn from Aruba’s experience with Natalee Holloway


From The Barbados Advocate, they just don’t get it. After all this time, they just don’t get it …

ANY of the countries in the Caribbean region can be faced, as Aruba was recently, with the issue of visitor safety and security, as such, this will be the theme of the upcoming Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) conference to be held in that Dutch territory next year.

Giving an outline of the draft agenda for the conference, Jeanette Richardson- Baar, Chief of Staff, to the Commissioner of Police of Aruba said that the conference will be a perfect opportunity to showcase to everyone abroad that Aruba still is a very safe and secure island to visit. Her comments came as she spoke to those gathered for the final day of the ACCP Inter-sessional meeting at the Amaryllis Beach Resort yesterday.

After all that has transpired during the past six month. After all the errors in the investigation (many of which have been admitted to by Aruban authorities and the PM). After all the communication and cooperation issues that the prosecution and investigators have had with the Holloway and Twitty families, this is what they focus on as their primary goal?

With that in mind, Richardson-Baar noted that at any time, a similar situation could occur in another country in the region and so it is imperative that all the countries are well prepared. One important issue that needs to be addressed, she stated, is how the authorities relate to the media, especially international media entities.

We have to train people more how to deal with the media. We have our information officers who are used to dealing with the local press and that is on a one-on-one basis. They all know each other, they don’t make trouble and they know what to expect of each other. But we were confronted with CNN and FOX and people who have different ethics in terms of gathering information, she lamented.

Dealing with the media is your problem? If this is what they truly believe heaven help them. Its not about having a better SPIN machine, its about having a better investigative machine that takes all cases seriously from the outset.

It is this continual denial of the real issue in this case by whether it be Aruba or any other tourist destination that is the problem. Whether a crime happens once or several times, it is your responsibility to investigate it to the utmost and not have a family be responsible for tips and searches.

Its not about dealing with the media. Its about dealing with the investigation. Until you figure this out, you will always have a PR nightmare.

(Barbados Advocate article)

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