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On the ready

by Shawn Cumberbatch

securityBooking accommodation and packing beachwear are far from the only things on the minds of visitors to Barbados these days.

An increasing number of them are also bringing their own security.

While confidentiality agreements negated certain disclosures, Barbados TODAY learnt that some foreign nationals, most of them wealthy, are spending thousands of dollars on personal protection during holidays here.

And expatriates trying to get information on loved ones, business associates and other individuals discreetly on the island have also been spending large sums.

So much so that a retired United States Secret Service agent now heading a private investigator and security consultancy firm is reporting a “steady” flow of business here over the past few years.

Investigations revealed that one company which has decided to go public with its work here is Erimus Risk, a security and investigations company based in Houston, Texas in the US.

The company did not give dates or names, but said a foreign “individual” contracted it to provide “full travel security support for a 10 day family vacation” in Barbados.

Noting that the family stayed at the luxurious Heron Bay property in St. James, Erimus said: “Prior to the trip, we were asked to research suitable accommodation options based on the families specific needs and liaised with resort management and staff before presenting the options to the family.

“We then coordinated with our medical advisors who provided a detailed medical report for the island including a list of hospital locations and recommended vaccinations. We worked with the family’s private aviation provider to confirm type of aircraft, pricing, itinerary, onboard food options, as well as arranging departure and arrival logistics including on the ground transportation.

“Finally, the family requested that one of our close protection consultants traveled with them to ensure their continued safety and smooth logistics on the ground. The consultant arrived on the island 24-hours ahead of the family and coordinated the logistics support elements to ensure everything was ready prior to the aircraft landing,” the company disclosed.

Erimus also said during the visit to Barbados the security consultant “maintained a low profile, discreet presence while supporting the family including escorting the two young children during various activities and local trips”.

“The family was able to relax throughout their stay having the peace of mind that their personal security and logistics were handled per their request,” it stated.

Joseph LaSorsa, who was once a member of the White House presidential protection detail within the US Secret Service and now heads J.A. LaSorsa & Associates, told Barbados TODAY while there was generally a “very favourable” of the island, tourists having private security for their own peace of mind was reasonable.

“They should not assume anywhere is safe based on the appearance of the location. Precautions and care should always be taken,” he said.

LaSorsa said neither he nor his firm was currently contracted to provide private security for visitors, but noted that “for the past decade” his private investigation services had been in demand by “overseas nationals” seeking information in Barbados. But the security expert said “the demand has been somewhat steady over the past few years”, he and his team were relying on unnamed people here to help them search.

“We do not come over and conduct any business there ourselves. Full services are offered in Barbados through our on-island confidential associates,” he noted.

“We are always a positive asset and always strive to be a positive asset to our clients. We do not typically interfere with law enforcement’s work and due to the nature of our work, we typically work autonomously,” LaSorsa.

Police Public Relations Officer Inspector David Welch said this evening that he would investigate and get back to us on the specific rules and regulations under which foreign security personnel and private investigators were able to operate in Barbados.

But Welch suggested the Royal Barbados Police Force’s oversight of such services would focus on sensitive areas such as firearms being in the possession of these bodyguards and other foreign security personnel, something he said lawmen were unlikely to support.

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