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Published on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Hotel chain threatens legal action after tourist deaths in Dominican Republic


The largest hotel chain in the Dominican Republic is threatening legal action after suffering a backlash following the sudden deaths of four tourists at its hotels on the Caribbean island.

Grupo Pinero, which owns the Bahia Principe properties where four holidaymakers have died in less than a year, two of them last month, issued a statement saying that the chain had 'suffered great damage to its image and reputation'.

It went on to say that 'serious insults and threats' had been levied at some of its 15,000-plus employees and their families following the three most recent deaths at the Bahia Principe properties in May.

American holidaymaker Miranda Schaup-Werner, aged 41, died in her room, allegedly after have a drink from her minibar. Five days later, engaged couple Edward Holmes, 63, and Cynthia Day, 49, were found dead in their room at the Bahia Principe La Romana, pictured above, a neighouring hotel on the same resort.

All three were said to have died of a pulmonary edema and respiratory failure.

It has also emerged that a fourth tourist, 51-year-old Yvette Sport, died suddenly at the Bahia Principe resort in Punta Cana last June. She is alleged to have died of a heart-attack but her family has told the US Fox news network that the most recent deaths at the Bahia Principe resorts have caused them to question her death.

This week, it was revealed that another American tourist, Robert Wallace, aged 67, died at the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana in April, allegedly after drinking one whisky from the minibar. His widow who was with him said he began vomiting blood and was admitted to hospital, where he died two days later.

Last July, David Harrison, also from the US, died at the Hard Rock Hotel and his family is now questioning the reason.

The FBI told Fox news that it was helping the Dominican Republic authorities investigate the deaths.

In a statement issued following the deaths in May, Bahia Principe parent Grupo Pinero said: "In regards to the two unfortunate events that took place in the Dominican Republic, and after inaccurate and false information has been spread or circulated of by various media, digital platforms and social networks, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts would like to express our deep respect to the authorities and the ongoing investigations.

"We reiterate our firm commitment to collaborating completely with the authorities and hope for a prompt resolution of their inquiries and actions and will not be making any further statements that may interfere with them.

"As a result of the misinformation that has been published, which we wholeheartedly disagree with, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts has suffered great damage to its image and reputation.'¨

"Serious insults and threats have been levied on some of our more than 15,000 employees and their families, who are the backbone of our company and before whom we cannot stand idle 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, receiving 7 million tourists from all over the world annually.

"In the D.R., we have 14 hotels and more than 7,100 rooms, making us the'¨largest hotel brand in total number of hotel beds in the country. We welcome approximately 700,000 guests each year.

"The safety and comfort of our guests and staff stand at the core of our company values, and we work daily to ensure it. All our properties in the Dominican Republic hold 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 completely disagree with the dissemination of false information issued publicly which threatens the image and reputation of the company and the integrity and rights of our employees and their families, reserving, where necessary, the right to take the appropriate legal action."


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