Organizations involved in yachting are coming together to address the problem of crime against yachts visiting St Lucia at the Bay Marina and Marigot Bay.
In a press statement, the 60-member Marine Industries Association of St Lucia (MISAL) said that while there are regular reports in the media on criminal incidents occurring throughout the island, not much is publicized about crimes against yachties, making a point that these incidents are carried in international trade magazines.
“Local authorities are usually blissfully unaware of the escalating damage being done, as yachting has traditionally been off the radar screens of most government agencies,” said the statement.
“The yachting industry has not spoken with a single voice, or engaged in the sort of advocacy that chambers of commerce or manufacturers’ associations have always done.”
But this is about to change, they say, with the establishment of the Safety & Security committee of MISAL, which in addition to working with the local marine police and US Coast Guard Auxiliary on search and rescue, is actively engaged in pulling together the various entities responsible for the protection of yachts in our waters. The Committee is headed by Lynne Glasscoe of Discovery at Marigot Bay.
Recently through the Rodney Bay Marina The Harbour, Island Water World, and Island Marine Supplies teamed up to purchase and refit a Boston Whaler for the use of the St Lucia Air & Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) to patrol the Port of Rodney Bay, which includes the outer Bay. SLASPA recruited additional staff to man the whaler and they are now in the final states of basic seamanship training, which will be followed by two weeks of coxswain training. The Marigot Bay Business Association (MBBA) is examining the Rodney Bay model for adoption and the Soufriere Bay area.
The total economic impact of the yachting sector was EC$72.64 million (ECLAC), and had risen to EC$139.2 million by 2004 (ACME Consulting).
“If this growth is to be sustained, yachts must visit. If our environment is unsafe, not only will they not come, they will inform the fraternity that St Lucia is not safe to visit and our industry will collapse. The MIASL is determined to work with all parties to avoid such a fiasco, and will issue periodic, authenticated releases charting the progress on this crime fighting front.”