The Marine and Yachting Association of Grenada (MAYAG) has teamed up with the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) for the second year in a row to preserve the safety and security enjoyed by cruisers visiting Grenada.
According to visitor surveys conducted by the Marine and Yachting Association, yachting visitors ranked 'safety and security' as a number one consideration when deciding where to visit and where to sail. Naturally, this means that Grenada's safety record is important to the sector. Grenada recognizes the importance of safety and security to yachts and enjoys a reputation for being a relatively safe destination. And MAYAG is actively working to ensure it stays that way.
"We recognize that as there is a very small percentage of Grenadians engaged in criminal activity, there is a correspondingly small proportion of yachting visitors who are involved in illegal activities, and we welcome this partnership with the RGPF in keeping this place a haven for yachts," MAYAG Chairperson Anita Sutton said at the January launch of the emergency yachtline.
While explaining why the RGPF had created a dedicated hotline for yachts, Superintendent James, Commander of Grenada's Drug Squad, expressed how happy he was that the drug squad is partnering with MAYAG and the wider yachting community. He reported that the region is threatened by the drug trade, and "society is the victim of the [drug] trade," making it clear that Grenada had no intention of becoming one of those victims. James stressed that the yachtline is for reporting security problems and emergencies; however, he also encouraged yachting visitors to use the yachtline to report any suspicious activity they see taking place – and that may include drug trafficking.
To launch what MAYAG calls the 'emergency yachtline', MAYAG brought together RGPF Commanders from the Drug Squad, the Criminal Investigations Department and the Coast Guard to meet with yachting interests in Grenada. The launch is the second meeting of it's kind organized by MAYAG. The first security meeting held in March 2010 was such a success, it is likely to become an annual event.
Mister Pascal, vice chair of MAYAG, said: "Cruisers reported a need for improved police communications and emergency response in our 2010 security meeting," The yachtline will address a great deal of that, but the yachtline is not the only measure MAYAG, cruisers, and the police are working on together. The community is working on raising funds to provide the Coast Guard with a number of the hardware assets required to improve their ability to keep Grenada safe, and improving border security with the implmentation of eSeaClearâ„¢.
Coast Guard Commander, Superintendent Griffith, who was recently posted as the new Commander of the Grenada Coast Guard, made it clear that cooperation between the police, yachting businesses and cruisers was essential for preventing the rise of crime. He also re-iterated the high level of regional cooperation which yachting visitors may not always be aware of. He cited cases of successful partnership with the Coastguard of Trinidad and Tobago, and mentioned some of the practical support available to the Grenada Coastguard regionally.
Grenada's CID reports that maritime crimes have gone down from ten incidents in 2009 to nine incidents in 2010. Grenada's 24/7 Emergency Yachtline is 473-405-7490.
Jennifer Ellard Alexis, a Canadian/Grenadian, is married to a yachtsman from Carriacou. She owns and operates Ethical Ideas Consulting Services in Grenada.