New website VisitSaudi.com The government of the kingdom, due to falling oil prices, hopes that tourism will contribute up to 2030 percent of gross domestic product by 10, compared to the current 3 percent. They expect to attract up to 2030 million tourist visits a year by 100, both domestic and foreign. Is Saudi Arabia looking for its place under the global tourist sun? Who would visit Saudi Arabia when the country is known for torturing women’s rights and human rights activists in general, public executions, where there are no tourist visas… were just some of the open questions. In 2017, Saudi Arabia announced a multibillion-dollar project that would turn 50 Red Sea islands into luxury resorts. #WhereInTheWorld is the name of an online campaign that has attracted a lot of attention on the global tourism scene. The kingdom is opening its doors to tourists to reduce the economy’s dependence on oil. And all within the vision Saudi Vision 2030. But soon, tapping just two weeks later, Saudi Arabia showed off its maps and for the first time offered foreign tourists tourist visas to visit the kingdom (visitors will be able to stay for up to 90 days). Saudi Arabia’s tourism officials announced a new visa program for citizens of 49 countries, including Croatia, followed by a Twitter campaign called #WelcomeToArabia as well as a modern website dedicated to the promotion of tourism in the Kingdom. The financial power of tourism has been recognized even by Saudi Arabia, which did not have tourist visas until “yesterday”, but times are changing. Now Saudi Arabia is also entering a global struggle for every guest, all as part of preparing the future of its economy after the oil era. Obviously, as Saudi Arabia opens up more and more to the modern world, even last year Saudi Arabia ceased to be the only country in the world where women are banned from driving, and we can soon expect the lifting of various restrictions, at least for tourists. position and open to global tourists. Saudi Vision 2030 is an economic vision of the Kingdom’s development to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, to diversify its economy through the development of public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism. The goals include strengthening economic and investment activities, increasing trade in the oil industry between countries in goods and consumer goods, which was presented in 2016 by the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman In the promotional video, they skillfully play with shots and well-known symbols of other world destinations, ie their similarities, but with communication This is not Maldives, Utah, The Caribbean, Italy, Australia etc.… make it clear that these are not the mentioned destinations but one destination. The video ends with the slogan #WhereInTheWorld. The video was released as a kind of teaser in early September, and although the promotional film does not show which destination it is, with a little research it is clear that Saudi Arabia is behind the whole story. Where in the world could this be?Be the first to visit an exciting, new destination. Get ready to see the unseen.#whereintheworldhttps://t.co/z5JYaylT5i pic.twitter.com/6HwfrVrctC- Visit Saudi (@visit_saudi) September 14, 2019
Guyana’s Attorney General Basil Williams has admitted that the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), under his watch, has been a mess, from failing to carry out successful investigations to failed prosecutions.Attorney General Basil WilliamsHe also expressed disappointment in the Unit’s ineffectiveness since it was established.He made these comments at a Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ML&TF) National Risk Assessment Seminar on Thursday at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston Georgetown.“One of the things we have to deal with is the question of investigations, prosecutions and convictions for money laundering offences, which I believe from 2015 to now, we haven’t had any, not one…we’ve seen the evaluation of all [of] the countries and they[‘ve] all fail[ed]. Some of them have hundreds and they still are not effective depending on the nature of economies but we haven’t had any; it’s remarkable and we have to look at that because that’s a gaping wound in the AML/CFT side… you’ve mentioned that you’ve increased some employment in SOCU. SOCU is a mess, so we have to reorganise SOCU and we have to make it effective,” the Attorney General stated.SOCU has been under fire for some time now with several allegations of corruption and mismanagement being made against it by persons it would have investigated and had business dealings with.SOCU headquartersEarlier this year, a forensic audit into SOCU’s operations was launched by the Guyana Police Force (GPF). The audit found cases of falsified invoices bearing forged signatures.Other irregularities that were unearthed include falsified records as well as missing documents. There were also reports of listed expenditure being concocted and receipts being backdated.Recently, a Police investigation was launched against Assistant Police Commissioner Sydney James, the former Head of SOCU, following recommendations from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chambers.James was eventually sent on leave by the Government to facilitate investigations and acting Head of SOCU, Althea Padmore, was appointed. Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has said publicly that with all that has happened, James will not be returning.However, besides the fraud allegations, SOCU has failed to secure convictions in the cases it brought to court. It was only in March of this year that contempt of court charges brought by SOCU against eight top executives of GBTI were thrown out by the Magistrates Court. The charges brought by SOCU against Guyana Rice Development Board officials were also thrown out.SOCU was established in 2014 on the recommendation of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and was intended to be a Police unit operating under the authority of the Police Commissioner but with a close relationship to the FIU.A few years ago, Jagdeo stated that SOCU was created with the sole purpose of investigating money laundering and the financing of terrorism under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing for Terrorism (AMLCFT) Act, but is now the operational arm that is being used to target Opposition members.“This concern of the parliamentary opposition is further bolstered by recent public statements by Cabinet Ministers which are particularly ominous,” Jagdeo had stated.He further reminded that during the 2016 Budget Debates, in February, the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, promised to make the protocols that guide SOCU’s operations public in a matter of weeks, a promise he is still to fulfil.It was SOCU which led a botched high-speed chase on the car transporting the wife of PPP/C Parliamentarian Charles Ramson Jr, resulting in three persons being killed and the subsequent declaration by the Government that there will be no investigation into the incident, while no agency or person has so far accepted responsibility.Jagdeo said that the fact that $40 million has been allocated in the 2016 Budget of the Ministry of the Presidency for a “top-up” of the SOCU staff is highly suspect and facilitates an environment for overt political interference.As such, Jagdeo had alerted the Guyanese public, civil society bodies, the diplomatic, and donor communities of what he terms “worrying developments which are an indicator of creeping authoritarianism undermining democracy, human rights and the rule of law.In 2017, former Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Roger Luncheon; former Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Ramesh Dookhoo; daughter of former President Donald Ramotar and General Manager of Guyana Gold Board, Lisaveta Ramotar; son of former Labour Minister Nanda Gopaul, Dr Gansham Singh; former Deputy Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Marcia Nadir-Sharma and former Minister of Natural Resources Robert Persaud were arrested by SOCU for “conspiracy to defraud the State of revenue”.