Northstar Meetings Group's Destination Caribbean event officially began yesterday at the Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort All Inclusive in the Dominican Republic, just days after the FBI officially declared that the "mysterious" tourist deaths that occurred earlier this year were not mysterious at all but were a medically and statistically normal phenomenon. The topic was a point of discussion during this morning's educational session, "Ask the Attorney," a Q&A with Jonathan T. Howe, Esq., president of Howe & Hutton Ltd.
The U.S. news media latched onto the fact that all of the vacationers had consumed alcohol at their resorts -- which is hardly unusual, Howe noted. "They probably all had breakfast, and all checked their email, and they all brushed their teeth," he posited. The commonality does not prove cause and effect, as the FBI investigation confirmed. Toxicology reports found that the alcohol served by the resorts was not tainted.
In an earlier conversation, Howe likened the scenario to the death of pioneering running advocate Jim Fixx, who died of a heart attack at age 52. "Suddenly people were wondering if running was bad for you. But maybe if he wasn't a runner he would have died at age 26." In the Dominican Republic cases, he added, alcohol might have exacerbated underlying medical conditions.
According to USA Today, the FBI conducted toxicology reports for cases involving Miranda Schaup-Werner, who died May 25 in her hotel room, and Cynthia Day and Nathaniel Holmes, who died on May 30 at a sister resort. Schaup-Werner, 41, suffered a heart attack, according to Dominican authorities. Holmes, 63, died of respiratory failure, and Day, 49, from a pulmonary edema, a condition caused by excess fluid in the lungs.
Per the U.S. State Department, "The results of the additional, extensive toxicology testing completed to date have been consistent with the findings of local authorities."
Other prevalent topics in the discussion centered on the common mistakes planners make -- including not reading the contract and making assumptions -- as well as timely concerns regarding data privacy, gun laws, marijuana and civil unrest.
Howe addressed many of these issues in a recent webcast, Legal Mistakes Planners Make and How to Avoid Them.
The Aruba Convention Bureau sponsored today's education, and Northstar has announced that Destination Caribbean 2020 will be at the Ritz-Carlton Aruba, Aug. 15-17.