Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

Barbados rapes: MP warns travellers island is 'unsafe'

2013-03-23 23:00:53

An MP has called on the Foreign Office to warn travellers Barbados is "not a safe place" until the local police properly investigate the rape of two British women.

Dr Rachel Turner, of Hertfordshire, and Diane Davies, of Anglesey, were raped within days of each other in 2010.

Both women helped free a man who police said was the rapist, despite the lack of any supporting evidence.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said Barbados police should reopen the case.

A Barbados Tourism Authority spokesperson said: "May I reassure you that we take any incident very seriously.

"Barbados is a friendly and welcoming country with more than 250,000 British tourists each year, many of whom are repeat visitors.

"But, like every country in the world, some crimes will occur. Our absolute priority will continue to be the safety of our community and our visitors."

'Rapist on the loose'

Dr Turner, 30, who grew up near Letchworth, Hertfordshire, and holds a research post at the University of the West Indies, and Mrs Davies, 63, of Valley in Anglesey, waived their right to anonymity to clear the name of Barbadian Derrick Crawford, 47.

He was charged with the rape, but the case was dismissed by a local court in December last year.

Dr Turner and Mrs Davies have called for an inquiry into their treatment by Barbadian police and why officers kept insisting on Mr Crawford's guilt long after the women told them he was not the attacker, and when there was no forensic evidence linking Mr Crawford to the crimes.

Mr McPartland, Dr Turner's MP, told the BBC: "I firmly believe that Barbados is not a safe place for British women to travel to as there is a rapist on the loose.

"The police have failed to reopen the case and they have failed to get Rachel justice.

"The Foreign Office should update their travel advice and make it clear that Barbados is not a safe place to travel and warn British tourists to stay away.

"Maybe then, the authorities in Barbados will make the police reopen the case and find this rapist."

He said the Barbados authorities needed "to apologise to Rachel publicly, reopen the case and find the rapist".

'Swept under carpet'

Mr McPartland said the Foreign Office minister with responsibility for the Caribbean Mark Simmonds had told him he would be raising the issue with the Barbados government when he visited the country later in the year.

Dr Turner welcomed Mr McPartland's intervention.

"I appreciate the support. It is outrageous they (authorities in Barbados) have swept it under the carpet," she said.

The concerns over Barbados as a travel destination come about a week after a couple from Suffolk were shot in the island's capital Bridgetown during a robbery.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We are appalled by the horrific rape ordeal that Dr Turner went through.

"We updated our travel advice at the time of the rape to warn British nationals that attacks had taken place in the area. The majority of visitors to Barbados enjoy a trouble free visit."

The Royal Barbados Police Force has yet to comment.


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