Tourism stakeholders alarmed over tourist’s murder, calls for more security in fear for industry

Posted: Saturday, January 16th, 2016. 10:37 a.m. CST


By BMG Staff: Following the two recent murders of foreign nationals in the West, a Canadian and an American in the Cayo district within the span of two weeks, starting with 37-year-old film maker, Mathew Klinck, who was found dead at a home he was sitting, stakeholders in Cayo’s Tourism Industry have raised their voices in solidarity to demand increased security measures for tourists in that district.

Klinck was an accomplished Canadian film maker who had done some work in Belize and was residing in Selena village before meeting his untimely and brutal death, which happened several days before his body was found, since it was in a decomposed state with 14 stab wounds to the face, neck and upper area.

The motive for his murder was deemed as robbery after it was discovered by police that some cash belonging to Klinck, was in the home of one of the main suspects who was later charged for the Canadian’s death.

Just as the dust was settling and two teenagers were charged for Klinck’s murder, another murder of a tourist shook the Cayo district again yesterday morning when the body of 39-year-old American national, Anne Elizabeth McComb, an ABC News producer, was found floating in the Mopan River near Nabitunich Resort where she was staying for the duration of her visit.

McComb was reported missing on Thursday evening by the owner of the resort, after she didn’t return from her yoga area which was a deck over the river, down the resort’s horse trail. Police visited the area and found her belongings but there was no sign of McComb until yesterday morning around 8:00 when officers re-visited the deck and saw her body floating.

The body had blunt force wounds to both sides of the forehead and marks on the neck, confirming to police that McComb was murdered in broad daylight as she tried to achieve relaxation by doing yoga in the quiet, secluded area.

Responding to these acts of violence against tourists, which can potentially cause devastation to the tourism industry, Joe Awe, former president of the Cayo Tour Guide Association, who also happens to be a tourism lecturer at the local junior college along with stakeholders of Cahal Pech Village Resort in San Ignacio Town and other resorts in the area, have joined forces to call on the Government of Belize for a much needed heightening of security for tourists.

Awe is appalled at the crime situation in Cayo and told Belize Media Group that security is as important as infrastructure in Cayo and calls on the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and Government of Belize to take proactive measures in providing security in Cayo and throughout the country especially popular tourism destinations like Placencia and Ambergris Caye.

Lloyd Alvarez, Cahal Pech Village reservations manager also said that since the country is at its peak of high season it is crucial that government provides security in all areas of the country in order for the tourism industry to not suffer. “If we do not do something about this crime situation, tourists will go and vacation elsewhere and as a result our tourism industry will suffer,” Alvarez added.

It is their hope that the request will not go unnoticed as innocent lives are being taken from people who saw Belize as a vacation paradise and as our country’s tourism industry takes punches that can ultimately end in a knockout.





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