Once in a while I do come across a mail – and believe me I do get hundreds of them in particular over my recent article series about
the British FCO anti travel advice and the subsequent evacuation
of British tourists for which, miraculously, now no one seems to
be responsible, going by statements received where one party
blames the other – which is worth a second and third look.
Here is one I checked with the sender as I thought I might as well re-
publish it so that his thoughts can be shared with all my readers,
and not just with me.
Feel free to respond to Terry and share your thoughts with him, best
via the comment column on my blog as Terry will be getting the feedback
and can engage in direct dialogue then.
From: Terry Downes
Date: 23 May 2014 09:59
Subject: KENYA AND VISITING SAFELY
My name is Terry Downes, Irish but proudly Kenyan in that I chose to invest here 7 years ago and fell in love with this beautiful country. My background is Military, 14 years in the Irish Army, the last 7 of which were on active duty with the Irish Army’s Anti Terrorist unit. Most recently I was the founder and former CEO of Senaca East Africa, a company I built to become the fastest growing security company in East Africa before tendering my resignation as CEO in February this year.
I too was upset and annoyed at the way Kenya was portrayed / treated recently but I also realised there WAS a genuine concern out there and it beholds all who care about Kenya to look within and see what steps we can take to reassure people that their concerns are taken seriously and measures put in place to provide them with the PEACE OF MIND any international travel seeks. I feel strongly that to issue Travel Advisories against Kenya is selective and grossly unfair. That said, I also felt that simply ATTACKING the messenger and trying to pretend there were ZERO issues would never carry the majority.
SECURITY SERVICES IN KENYA
I came to realise that for sure more and more VIP Guests or Senior Executives engaged close protection services but the TRUTH IS, that is a service required by very few, unaffordable by most and really who wants to present a view that to travel safe to Kenya you NEED BODYGUARDS. It is simply not true.
THAT SAID, I also realised that the VAST MAJORITY of people who travel to Kenya have a right to do so clear in their mind that they have taken all REASONABLE precautions. There are genuine risks and we should not ignore that reality as we seek to defend our reputation as a tourist destination across the world. I set out to create a SOLUTION in which visitors PLANNING to come to Kenya could explore a MENU of REASONABLE / REALISTIC / PRACTICAL / AFFORDABLE security support services. SECURITY SUPPORT SERVICES THAT WERE DELIVERED BY CUSTOMER SERVICE ORIENTATED COMPANY NOT A TRADITIONAL “ASKARI” COMPANY. NO SUCH OPTION CURRENTLY EXISTS AND SO I SET ABOUT DEVELOPING AND LAUNCHING A PROJECT CALLED “BE SAFE IN KENYA”. www.besafeinkenya.com .
I understand the security industry in this country INSIDE OUT, I also have a good understanding of how VISITORS might feel in the current circumstances and given my background, I understand perhaps better than others the REAL nature of the terrorist threat. I wanted to develop a solution that was a HOSPITALITY SERVICE not a SECURITY service, I wanted it to be seen as offering PEACE OF MIND solutions regardless of your perception / appetite for risk. I wanted to give people choices, affordable to all visitors, PRACTICAL support. I wanted it to be seen by the hospitality sector as a service that can really HELP SWING ORDINARY people into believing that ‘YUP THAT ALL SOUNDS VERY REASONABLE’.
Professor, I have NEVER WRITTEN to a BLOGGER before, I am NOT on Twitter, I have no idea if and how you will react to me writing to you. You may utterly disagree with my efforts to make a difference but then perhaps you do agree with me.
If on the other hand you can find time to take a look at the web site www.besafeinkenya.com and you can offer any positive support / guidance of any kind, I would forever be grateful. I am trying to understand how I can LINK with STAKEHOLDERS who might be willing to support IN ANY WAY, people who may be willing to say a kind word that I can use on the site. I want to REACH the international sites that are currently working to encourage visitors to Kenya and let them know there IS A PRACTICAL SECURITY SUPPORT SERVICE AVAILABLE, I want to try and find ANYONE who can help me to help people realise that you can travel to Kenya and (like me) FALL IN LOVE with this beautiful place and you can do that SAFELY but for sure some of us will appreciate a little bit of support to manage our perception of risk while we are here. I just LAUNCHED the site YESTERDAY. Please believe me, I am really trying to do the right thing here.
Any assistance will be very much appreciated.
Please click Hyperlink Logo to access the site.