Several cases about the deaths of American tourists in the Dominican Republic has prompted a hotel chain to speak out, claiming their reputation and image has been tarnished.
In a statement to news outlet Dominican Today, the Piñero Group says their employees have received threats after it was reported that three people died at their hotel chains. The Bahia Principe Bouganville in San Pedro de Macoris was named in an American death last month when Miranda Schaup-Werner died of a heart attack on May 25.
Almost a week later, Maryland couple Cynthia Ann Day, 49, and Nathaniel Edward Holmes, 63, were found dead inside their hotel room at the nearby Grand Bahia Principe La Romana. Both causes of death happened to be related to "hemorrhaging, pulmonary edema and enlarged hearts," The Washington Post reports.
Two other deaths have also been reported at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana. In April, 67-year-old Robert Bell Wallace died suddenly during his stay. Family of David Harrison, 45, who also died at the resort last July have now questioned his death. Both reportedly died of heart attacks.
The FBI has stepped in to provide “technical assistance with the toxicology reports,” a state department official tells the Post.
While the Piñero Group didn't specify what misinformation was spread, they assured that they are working with authorities and have the safety of their guests and staff.
"As a result of the erroneous information that has been published, with which we do not agree, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts has suffered great damage to its image and reputation," the statement reads. "Serious insults and threats have been imposed on some of our more than 15,000 employees and their families, who are the backbone of our company and for whom we can not remain on the sidelines. We reiterate our firm commitment to cooperate fully with the authorities and we expect a quick resolution of your consultations and actions, and we will not make any other statements that could interfere with them."
In a news conference last week, tourism officials said the deaths might be coincidence noting that nothing like it has happened in the country before. “Sometimes in life, there can be a law of sequences,” Francisco Javier Garcia, the country’s minister of tourism, said Thursday (Jun 6). “Sometimes, nothing may happen to you in a year. But in another week, three things might happen to you.”
“This is something that … has never happened before in our country,” Paola Rainieri, president of Asonahores, the Dominican Republic Hotel and Tourism Association, added. “Really, we’re a safe destination.”
Read the full statement from the Piñero Group below.
With regard to the two unfortunate events that took place in the Dominican Republic, and after various media, digital platforms and social networks disseminated, reposted or distributed false information, Bahia Príncipe Hotels & Resorts wishes to express its profound respect to the authorities and investigations in progress.
We reiterate our firm commitment to cooperate fully with the authorities and we expect a quick resolution of your consultations and actions, and we will not make any other statements that could interfere with them.
As a result of the erroneous information that has been published, with which we do not agree, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts has suffered great damage to its image and reputation. Serious insults and threats have been imposed on some of our more than 15,000 employees and their families, who are the backbone of our company and for whom we can not remain on the sidelines.
For 24 years, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts has operated in the Dominican Republic, which is one of the most internationally recognized destinations, and receives 7 million tourists from around the world annually. In the Dominican Republic, we have 14 hotels and more than 7,100 rooms, which makes us the largest hotel brand in the total number of hotel beds in the country. We welcome approximately 700,000 people each year.
The safety and comfort of our guests and staff is the core of our company’s values and works daily to ensure it. All of our properties in the Dominican Republic possess some of the most prestigious certifications in the industry, including Travelife certifications at the Gold level, as well as a Global Reputation Index (GRI) of 90 percent.
We reiterate that we totally disagree with the dissemination of false information published publicly that endangers the image and reputation of the company and the integrity and rights of our employees and their families, reserving, when necessary, the right to undertake the adequate legal action.