10 Britons on Caribbean cruise robbed at gunpoint in St Lucia

Some 55 passengers were held up by three gunmen on a bus in town of Soufrière

The armed robbery of 10 Britons during a shore excursion from a cruise ship’s tour of St Lucia has cast doubt over the safety of tourists in the Caribbean.

Some 55 passengers are thought to have been robbed by three masked gunmen while they were on board a bus at the Botanical Gardens in Soufrière on Friday.

While no injuries were reported, jewellery and money were taken from the group, who had come ashore from the Celebrity Cruises vessel Eclipse.

The St Lucia Tourism Minister, Lorne Theophilus, told the local broadcaster DBS that another such attack could cripple the island’s income from tourism dollars. He said it was an “unfortunate and horrible scenario” which left passengers on the 2,850-berth ship “shaken”.

“This is a rare incident,” stressed Matthew Beaubrun, chairman of St Lucia’s tourist board. He added: “This is such an important industry for us that we need to respond. We have taken it very seriously at the highest level and I know the Minister’s been in touch with the Prime Minister.”

According to Celebrity Cruises, the Eclipse offers an “impressive level of sophisticated service” as it travels from Southampton to Norway, Russia, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

The 121,000-ton ship is one of many that ferry passengers to the island each year and had been on a 14-day Caribbean tour after departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last week.

Two crew members from the vessel had also been on board the bus when it was robbed.

Last night a spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said that no Britons were thought to have been injured.

A statement from Celebrity Cruises said the guests had returned to the Eclipse unharmed after the attack. It said: “We are thankful that none of our guests was injured in this unfortunate event, and will continue to provide them with any support they may need.”

However, an Eclipse passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic forum: “One woman fell and broke her leg; no one else was injured, all their money and jewellery were taken.” Another British cruise passenger wrote that in order to make an impact and improve its crime figures, island authorities would have to “wake up and crack down on crime”. The robbery follows a series of high-profile incidents involving British tourists in the Caribbean this year, including a couple who were shot and a man who was stabbed in Barbados.

Ann Prior, 59, and her husband Philip, 72, were shot during a botched street robbery in Bridgetown, Barbados, last month while on a stopover on a three-month P&O round-the-world cruise. 

Dr James Bridges, a leading expert on toxicology from Surrey, was injured along with his wife when they were stabbed while arriving at their holiday villa in Barbados in January.

Some 71,600 Britons visit St Lucia each year and it is largely trouble-free.  FCO travel advice states: “There are incidents of petty crime including thefts from hotels, yachts and holiday homes. There have also been some incidents of violent crime including assaults and murder.”

Local police tonight said they had arrested three suspects.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable