The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry is warning that potential earnings from illegal cash-for-gold transactions have the capacity to undermine the island’s key foreign exchange tourism sector.
President Lalu Vaswani was responding to figures released this morning by Commissioner of Police, Darwin Dottin, which showed that for the first two months of this year, thieves had taken close to one million dollars worth in gold jewellery.
But Vaswani suggested that this situation reflected a decline in the country’s social and moral fabric, and it was therefore not a matter of enforcing laws by the police, but for citizens, NGOs, the church and civil society to “come forward and support the police”.
He said he believed these entities could make a difference by adhering to the crime prevention advice of the police, by reporting crime, by being more alert and reactivating or establishing neighbour watches.
The business sector spokesman urged Barbadians not to be vigilantes, but act responsibly, sensibly and protect themselves.
“So, the business community will be engaging a members’ forum shortly, and this topic will be taken up; and also we meet with the commissioner of police formally after that, so that we can identify the specific things we could do,” stated Vaswani.
He however, suggested a measure which could be put into operation immediately by the business community.
The chamber of commerce boss recommended that the legal cash-for-gold traders should adhere to the provision of the new legislation which required them to conduct transaction, only at their place of business and not, as the commissioner announced, going to the persons who were selling the gold.
“For example, the commissioner pointed that certain advertisements were promoting the activity in a way that was no longer lawful,” Vaswani observed.
He said business leaders also needed to communicate more with the police and be aware of the legal elements in running their businesses. (EJ)††