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Alleged robbery was drug deal gone bad - Govt

The Norwegian Dawn docked in Dockyard

Bermuda’s reputation is being threatened by a website blog entry about a broad daylight robbery in Dockyard which never even happened.The Cruise Critic website’s message board includes the story of a cruise ship passenger who was punched in the face and knocked to the ground outside the Bermuda Maritime Museum.The alleged mugging at 4pm on June 14 has prompted a whole host of responses from concerned travellers who question whether Bermuda is safe to visit. But the Ministry of Transport and Bermuda Police Service have investigated the claims and insist the mugging did not take place. They say a man in his 40s from Boston did suffer injuries while visiting Bermuda but this was because of a drug deal that went wrong. He did not report the incident to the police.Cruise Critic last night published an article reporting police’s conclusion, but described the lack of reporting of the incident as “strange”; at press time, the blog entry remained in place.A Ministry of Transport spokesman said: “The problem here is that this story never happened. There was no mugging, it’s absolute rubbish, he’s made it all up.“Yes, this cruise ship passenger went home with his messed up face but because of a drug deal that went bad.“He had got off the ship and was basically trying to buy drugs, except the deal didn’t go the way he expected it to. He didn’t tell police. No police officer in Bermuda knows anything about it.”The Ministry of Transport now plans to add their own comment to the website to set the record straight and “calm the situation down”.The spokesman said: “It’s very unfortunate that this one entry is threatening to smear our reputation. There’s been comments back and forth on the website and none of this is healthy for Bermuda. This displays the power of the internet, how things can quickly spiral.”An unnamed person who had just returned from the Boston to Bermuda sailing on the NCL Norwegian Dawn wrote the blog entry on Monday.It states: “I’ve been visiting Bermuda for nearly 45 years, and though I realise there’s no such thing as complete safety, especially when travelling, I’ve always considered Bermuda to be at the top of my list of safe places to travel. Not any more.”The entry goes on to explain the details of the mugging: “A tall and imposing black Bermudian was walking toward him on the same sidewalk.“The Dawn passenger assumed they would walk around each other as they got closer, but instead was punched in the face and knocked to the ground.“The assailant began to search through the victim’s pockets, presumably for a wallet, when the victim came to his senses and grabbed his assailant by the groin and focused every bit of strength on damaging the assailant’s testicles.“When the assailant was taken down screaming, the victim managed to level a couple of punches to the assailant’s face and fled to the ship.”The entry states that the crime was reported to the ship’s security personnel and customs agents, as well as Bermuda Police with officers interviewing the man in his stateroom. It goes on to say the Island was now “active with gangs and the crimes usually associated with gang activity”.It says: “I certainly hope that the Bermudian government sits up and takes notice and action against this very troubling trend. The Island’s livelihood depends on it.”Within just two days the entry has prompted eight comments with concerns about Bermuda “changing”, an increase in crime linked to the economy and drugs, and how Snorkel Park Beach is “among the scariest places seen”. The website thread is titled ‘mugging/assault in broad daylight’.Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva said: “The Bermuda Police Service can confirm that the incident was not reported to the police at the time, but it was brought to our attention on Tuesday. We have spoken to ship’s security and we are satisfied that the person in this incident was not, in fact, the victim of a robbery. We understand the person’s injury was sustained in connection with an illegal drug transaction. We note that alleged victim chose not to report the incident to the Bermuda Police.“We further note that the author of the post is not the actual victim and does not have all the facts of the matter. In the absence of a complaint from the victim, there is no further action for the BPS to take at this time.”Cruise Critic wrote in a news piece last night: “Bermuda Police have concluded that an alleged unprovoked attack on a Norwegian Dawn passenger was actually a drug deal gone wrong.“The investigation was prompted by an inquiry from Cruise Critic, after a recent post on the boards depicted a quite different and alarming scenario. Cruiser Willy reported on our boards June 20 that a fellow passenger aboard Norwegian Dawn said he was ‘punched in the face and knocked to the ground’ while walking back to the ship alone from Snorkel Park (King’s Wharf) June 14 at 4pm.“According to the posting, the passenger (unnamed in both the posting and subsequent police statements) reported the incident to security personnel and customs officers and was visited by Bermuda Police in his cabin.“Here’s where things get strange: There was no mention of this incident on the Bermuda Police Service’s online daily report, nor had the local newspaper reported it.“In a press release, NCL said, ‘In regards to the matter, we have cooperated with local authorities to the extent possible as the guest chose not to report the incident to Bermuda Police. Given the circumstances, we believe this was an isolated incident.’“Cruise Critic reached out to the police and government officials in an effort to get the facts. On Tuesday evening, Magnus Henagulph, a representative from the Ministry of Transport, told us the investigation prompted by our query led to this conclusion: The passenger was allegedly trying to buy marijuana when he was assaulted.”