Cruise Tourists Robbed: About 60 Robbed At Gunpoint Going To St. Lucia's Soufrière Botanical Gardens

By iScienceTimes Staff on April 15, 2013 4:35 PM EDT

Soufrière, St. Lucia
Matthew Beaubrun, chairman of St. Lucia’s tourist board, said that the cruise tourists being robbed on Friday was "rare," but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has stated that there have been incidents of petty crime and violent crime in the recent past. (Photo: Creative Commons)

About 60 cruise tourists were robbed at gunpoint going to St. Lucia's Soufriere Botanical Gardens on Friday, according to reports.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Celebrity Cruises confirmed that 55 passengers and two crew members who were aboard the vessel Eclipse were on their way on a bus to visit the Botanical Gardens in Soufriere on Friday when they were robbed. Four men were reportedly involved in the robbery, during which the bus was held up and cruise tourists robbed, but just three of the four men were arrested.

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"The men systematically searched the guests as well as their belongings," said St. Lucia police in a statement. "The masked men robbed them of monies, jewelry, cameras and cell phones and escaped in the nearby bushes...Apart from the trauma of the incident, none of the passengers robbed were injured."

Nevertheless, a member of the internet forum Cruise Critic reportedly on the same voyage claimed that a woman had fallen and broken her leg while cruise tourists were being robbed.

"We are on the Eclipse," they wrote. "Yesterday we were ported in St. Lucia. One of the ship tours was robbed at gun point by three masked gunmen. We were not on the tour, but friends were. They said one woman fell and broke her leg; no one else was injured. All their money and jewelry were taken."

Still, a spokesman for Celebrity Cruises denied anyone had been hurt when the cruise tourists were robbed.

"The affected guests have been contacted by our Guest Care Team to offer assistance, if necessary," the spokesman said. "We are thankful that none of our guests were injured in this unfortunate event, and will continue to provide them any support they may need."

The St. Lucia Tourism Minister, Lorne Theophilus, told local broadcaster DBS that if cruise tourists are robbed again, the island's tourism revenue could be negatively affected. Theophilus also said that the cruise tourists robbed was an "unfortunate and horrible scenario" which left passengers on the 121,000-ton ship "shaken".

"This is a rare incident," said Matthew Beaubrun, chairman of St. Lucia's tourist board. "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."

As the Independent noted, this latest incident of cruise tourists being robbed comes less than a month after Ann Prior, 59, and her husband Philip, 72, were shot during a botched street robbery in Bridgetown, Barbados, while on a stopover on a three-month P&O round-the-world cruise. 

Some 71,600 Britons visit St. Lucia each year without much trouble, but travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 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."

The Eclipse is currently on a 14-night Caribbean cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale in Florida on April 6 and ends there on April 20.

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