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Yachting Industry Addresses Threats to Sector

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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Monday, October 30, 2006 – Top stakeholders in the OECS yachting sector are taking a common position to keep crime against yachters and visitors to the islands of the sub- regional grouping at bay.

Director General of the OECS, Dr. Len Ishmael, disclosed several measures that will accompany already tightened security measures within marinas.

Dr. Ishmael said the types of crimes committed against yachters in the sub-region have become more serious and so must the response by stakeholders of both the tourism and yachting sectors.

“Many years ago, crimes committed against visiting yachts people used to be confined to the stealing of things; now crime is a little bit more violent and involves actual personal bodily harm . We did have an incident, which occurred offshore in Rodney Bay some time ago. When this hits the international press, it spells bad news for us,” said Dr. Ishmael.

She further stated that, that kind of bad press can cost the island millions of dollars, from an economically high end activity like yachting. Dr. Ishmael noted that yachters spend approximately 150 million dollars in the region annually.

“Many yachting persons have threatened that they will no longer sail in the Caribbean, because it is increasingly unsafe. Secondly, they are very concerned about their own perception that when these crimes happens, nobody in the islands cares,” she said.

A general meeting will be convened in the second half of December with all the players in the sector, where a host of security and other recommendations will be discussed with the objective of implementation in the near future.

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