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Western expats in Bahrain slam travel warnings

Manama, March 18, 2011

Bahrain's Western expats yesterday criticised travel warnings and 'over the top' international media coverage for causing concern to friends and family back home.

They say they are not considering leaving Bahrain and are confident that the situation will be resolved soon.

"I have had lots of e-mail messages from my children who have been worried about what they have read back home," said Londoner Ron Robinson, who runs a small logistics company in Bahrain.

"I think the UK government advice for us to get out is way over the top.

"There have been a couple of hot spots but the military are dealing with this. I have no plans to leave whatsoever. If people want to leave that is up to them, but where I live there are no problems.

"I have been visiting Bahrain on and off for 18 years and when I decided to set up my business I looked at Dubai and Turkey but I chose Bahrain.

"I believe that was the right decision for me. Business has been down a bit since the start of the trouble but hopefully now that the government has restored stability things will look up."

The view was echoed by Scotsman Andrew Smith, who works in the catering sector. "The trouble has hit the hotel and catering business badly, particularly the postponement of events like the Formula One," he said.

"But I have never given any thought of leaving and things now look to be getting back to normal. I would expect us to be back to normal this weekend and we can start building business again."

Irish civil engineer Mark Dunlevy said he knew a couple of colleagues who had decided to go home early.

"But I have certainly never considered leaving Bahrain," he said. "Everyone has to make their own choice, but I think the suggestion that we should all get out of Bahrain is an over reaction.

"It is going to cost people a lot of money to go home and then fly back later. I think this advice was premature. I live in Adliya and work in Isa Town and as an expat I would have to say that thinks are getting back to normal and I have had no problems."

Educationist Kevin Corirgan said he thought the embassies were causing unnecessary concerns and that the international media, including the BBC World Service, had a lot to answer for in worrying people at home.

"I have no intentions of leaving whatsoever. I went to university in the 1970s and lived through the bombings in Birmingham, Manchester, London and elsewhere and that was a lot worse than this," he said.

"As long as you keep away from hot spots then there is no real trouble for expats. The language the BBC has been using in reporting from Bahrain is dreadful and not conducive to letting people know the true situation.

"It is high time that they admitted that the Pearl Roundabout is not a square and is certainly not in the centre of Manama."

US-born Bahrain Association of Banks chief executive officer Robert Ainey said there was no way he was even considering leaving.

"I have lived in the Gulf for 28 years and in all that time never experienced anyone targeting Western expats or their property," he said.

"The advice to leave is rubbish.

"I was stopped at a road block when I was trying to get into Manama the other day and the police could not have been more helpful in telling me which route to take."

He said that anyone thinking of leaving Bahrain for a while should ensure they have enough money in their bank account to cover minimum loan and credits card payments as failure to do so could hit their credit rating.

A senior executive in the financial services industry, who asked not to be named, said it was important to keep up to date with developments and avoid trouble spots but he saw no reason why anyone should leave the country.

"I have been here for 20 years and neither myself or my family will be leaving," he said. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: | Bahrain | expats | Western |

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