A Friday robbery of more than 50 cruise ship passengers
aboard a St. Lucian tour bus has raised questions about the country’s reputation as a safe place for tourists.
Police have since arrested one of four suspected gunmen in connection with the crime.
During the incident, the passengers were visiting botanical gardens in Soufriere, St. Lucia when masked gunmen boarded the bus and stole money and jewellery, the United Kingdom’s Telegraph newspaper reported.
The passengers were mostly UK tourists from the Celebrity Eclipse, and only one tourist — a woman who fell and broke her leg — was injured in the robbery.
Lorne Theophilus, St. Lucia’s minister of tourism, told a local television channel that the robbery was an “unfortunate and horrible scenario,” and the country’s tourist board director, Matthew Beabrun, called the incident “a rare occurrence.”
He added that St. Lucia will take measures to safeguard its tourism product.
“This is such an important industry for us that we need to respond. We have taken it very seriously at the highest level,” he said, according to the Telegraph.
On Monday, police arrested one man, whose name hasn’t been released, according to the Associated Press. Police stated that he confessed in a written statement and had some of the proceeds of the crime — $105 — with him when he was arrested, according to the news agency. The high profile robbery of tourists is part of a trend that worries St. Lucian officials, the AP reported.
“Overall crime rates are relatively low in tourism-dependent St. Lucia, but there has been a worrying rise in violent crime the last few years that police have blamed largely on drug trafficking,” the article stated.