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
Monday 15 April 2013
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.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings plane crash: Andreas Lubitz 'had eyesight problems' and woke from nightmares 'screaming we’re going down'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...