CARDIFF, United Kingdom – Local businesses in Newport and Cardiff, Wales are counting the cost today of the 2014 NATO summit, after many of them recorded their most disastrous week ever. Shops, bars and restaurants emptied as regular customers avoided the two cities as a result of the colossal security operation to protect President Obama and other world leaders.
The Golden Cross bar in Cardiff was one example of a business that paid a high price for the ring of steel that was thrown up around the City. Barman Sean Walker told Breitbart London: “People are avoiding Cardiff because they believe they can’t come here as long as NATO is going on. It’s like they built a fence around us. We’ve had more police in the bar than we’ve had customers.”
His bar hosts a popular karaoke night every Thursday that attracts “dozens of singers and even more customers” but this week just two people took to the mic. Walker was unsure how much the company had lost but a local taxi driver said that he had “lost hundreds of pounds”.
The driver did not want to be named, fearing “reprisals from Cardiff council” who regulate him, but he was furious. He said: “I’ve been on all day and had four small jobs, over these two days I’ve lost hundreds of pounds. The arrival of Obama and NATO has been bad for business, it’s like when we had the Ryder Cup here: we were told it’d bring in loads of tourists, in the end no-one cared.
“Every small business in Cardiff and Newport want them all to go home so we can try to make up the losses we have suffered. The security for this conference is ridiculously over the top.”
The driver claimed that Wales had “lost millions” as a result of people being put off coming. He also pointed out that a large number of independent city centre restaurants had closed for the two day conference.
The comments of local business people are likely to call into question Gwent Police’s decision to roll out one of the UKs biggest ever security operations. They deployed at least 10,000 police officers, a number of tanks and a Royal Navy Destroyer. One resident even claimed to have seen surface-to-air missile systems being set-up close to his back garden.
The delegates were equally unimpressed, one senior diplomat told Breitbart London: “There is no point trying to move, or meet anybody, there are checkpoints everywhere. It’s like a warzone, without the war!”