The Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP) is working with the government to create a high-level group for the purpose of addressing “the level of aggressive solicitation and harassment downtown”, its Managing Director Ed Fields said yesterday.
Last week, Guardian Business revealed that the Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) was in the process of preparing a Cabinet paper regarding the number of complaints from tourists about “high-pressure selling tactics”.
“The DNP is extremely concerned about the level of aggressive solicitation and harassment downtown, primarily by what appears to be non-Bahamian sales people, but also Bahamians who are soliciting and harassing visitors to the extent that visitors can hardly walk ten or twenty feet without some sort of harassment,” Fields said.
“People should be able to walk down the street and select where they want to go, which entity they wish to go into without someone trying to drag them into a store or to pull them aside for some sort of tour or ride or whatever. So, we’re just very concerned.
“We have met with the police department, we have met with various government agencies, the Ministry of Tourism is also aware of the situation and is equally concerned because they’re getting all of these customer complaints. We have to correct this, so we’re going to try to put together a high-level group of people to deal with this.”
In general, Fields said, the situation downtown needs to be “reigned in”.
He said he’s hopeful that developments in the city center lead to that change, without anyone losing their livelihoods.
“There’s a lot of vagrancy, it’s not a crime area but it’s a harassed area. People are being harassed and it shouldn’t happen. As you know downtown needs a lot of work and we are painstakingly going through the process of correcting some things,” he said.
“The boardwalk is under construction, the cruise port is about to commence construction, The Pointe is about to open up, there’s a lot of development that’s going on, there are a lot of things happening but we’re not going to have any improvement if the behaviors don’t change and that requires a lot of discipline, a lot of work.”