Antigua has enlisted the services of four retired Canadian mountain police commissioners to train the local police force, following the murder of a honeymoon couple in July.
Ben and Catherine Mullany, both 31, were shot in July during a bungled robbery at their luxury cottage at Cocos Hotel. The island is carrying out an island-wide safety and security audit in response to the murder of the couple.
The four Canadian commissioners will train local police in better techniques to reduce crime. In addition, a partnership has been formed between groups such as the ministry of tourism, the hotel association, fire and police departments, the heath department and the office of disaster services in a bid to increase safety and security on the island.
Antigua and Barbuda minister of tourism Harold Lovell told travelweekly.co.uk the killings had “shocked and appalled the entire nation”, but that it was an isolated incident in an otherwise “very safe” destination.
Lovell added: “All of our hotels are compliant with the standards set by the association of tour operators, but we want to exceed the expectations of visitors by adopting the best safety and security measures in the world. We intend to put these guidelines into legislation, to make sure that existing and new properties conform to these high standards. This should be a good selling point for Antigua.”
Antigua’s ministry of tourism is trying to ascertain the effect the murders have had on visitor numbers. Travel agents surveyed by the ministry on a mystery shopper initiative did not discourage clients from visiting Antigua.
Visitor numbers for July- before the shootings – were already down 12% compared to the same time last year.