In the Eastern Caribbean, it is the rainy season. Even when the sun vibrantly shines, the air is heavy with moisture. The intermittent rains create lush tropical forests, and they punctuate time, creating a sense of the temporal that seems to exist outside of the realm of Western reality. The eternal forests are home to a wide variety of both plant and animal life. It is into this mixture of sun and rain, sea and mountains of timeless eternity that human beings have inserted themselves, producing both the beautiful and the ugly, the caring and the destructive. In steps the work of Dr. Peter Tarlow to build on safer tourism in Saint Lucia.
In this part of the world, to a great extent, the role of protecting this cacophony of cultures and life falls on the local police officers. They must find a way to create a harmony of elements, both human and ecological, and many of which seek a bellicose state rather than harmonious tranquility.
A day in the life of Saint Lucia Police
Yesterday was another day with the Royal Saint Lucian Police Force (RSLPF) for Dr. Peter Tarlow, who is in Saint Lucia conducting classes on safer tourism. Dr. Tarlow is a world-renowned expert in the field of tourism security and safety. He leads the SaferTourism program by eTN Corporation. The classes explore ways to bring harmony where there is the potential for ecological and economic disaster. This task is not easy. Change is hard, and paradigm shifts produce fear along with opportunity.
Few people understand the many sides of policing and still fewer, even among some in the upper administrative ranks of policing, grasp how the role of policing has changed. This need is especially poignant in locations with large transient populations such as tourism-based economies. Here, officials must grapple with the fact that the “was” of yesterday will not be the “reality” of tomorrow.
Saint Lucia: Land of surprises
These philosophical realities are very much present in Saint Lucia. To work here is to enter into another time dimension. It is a place where one rushes to wait, as time is both a slow meandering river and simultaneously the crashing of waves against the shoreline. Going beyond the thin cultural veneer seen by the average visitor, Saint Lucia is as rich in cultural surprises as are the seas that surround it are filled with fish. For example, more students than expected showed up for Dr. Tarlow’s tourism police training which was being conducted at the police academy in a room that had an air conditioner that was sort of working, but it also did not seem to have anticipated a larger group.
Dr. Tarlow shared: “My constant encounter with the unexpected, extended into the world of music. For example, my driver mixed the rhythms of the Caribbean with Hebrew music. As I watched the richness of both the urban and rural environment from my car window go by, and with a driver who has typical Caribbean dreadlocks, I unexpectedly realized that I am listening to Hebrew music. The fact that I understand Hebrew and can translate the music greatly ups my prestige.
“Culturally, these are lands of tin bands, carnivals, calypso, and Bob Marley. Against this cultural backdrop, I am a bit flabbergasted by both the number of people in general, and police officers in particular, who either have visited Israel or want to visit it, and by their fascination with all things Jewish. Saint Lucia never ceases to surprise me.”
Today after teaching, Dr. Tarlow met with major hotel officials. On Friday, he will be meeting with the Prime Minister after which he will head south to the city of Soufrière. The city of Soufrière is Saint Lucia’s main cruise port and the perfect place to work with the police on issues of cruise safety and security, as well as how the arrival of thousands of tourists all at one time impacts both the local community and the police.
Saint Lucia is definitely a land of surprises. Dr. Tarlow’s work on safer tourism will steer the island’s hospitality industry and its supporting allies, such as the police, towards positive tourism outcomes.
Dr. Tarlow has been working for over 2 decades with hotels, tourism-oriented cities and countries, and both public and private security officers and police in the field of tourism security. For more information on safertourism, please click here.