St. Lucia Official Fears Rising Crime Could Push Away Cruise Industry
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One prominent St. Lucia official is expressing concern in wake of several crimes committed against cruise ship passengers that are becoming more frequent.
With Norwegian Cruise Line having eliminated the popular Caribbean stop from its itineraries as recently as 2012 because of concerns about guests' safety, establishing precedent, St. Lucia Vendors Association president Peter Isaac told the St. Lucia Times he believes the ongoing problem could eventually lead to other cruise lines avoiding the island nation altogether.
"Persons have come to me and said that things have been stolen from their children, things of value like chains grabbed from them," Isaac told the Times. "We are facing a very serious problem in Castries," he added, referring to the country's capital on the northwest coast, where the main cruise port is located.
In a majority of cases that highlight the growing concern, cruise passengers have had handbags, chains and other valuable items stolen from them. Compounding the problem, authorities have been slow to react in many cases.
Isaac told the Times that even locals have admitted to feeling unsafe out in public.
With tourism spending playing a critical role for St. Lucia's economy, it's obviously imperative that officials work with authorities to quell the threat and improve the conditions for visitors. Fully aware, Isaac is pushing for both the country's Minister of Tourism and police to act quickly.
In addition to potentially firing the country's tourism officer if not holding him more accountable, Isaac's proposed solution includes making more police officers visible in Castries, a step that would not only improve the response to crimes against cruise passengers and others, but likely deter people from committing a crime in the first place.
"There is a Tourism Officer employed by the Ministry of Tourism. What is he doing?" Isaac asked.
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