Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has expressed his “revulsion” at the murder of a German national and the injury to another after armed gunmen boarded their yacht anchored at Wallaibou in southwestern St. Vincent during the early hours of Friday.
The identity of the dead man has not been released, but he is reported to be in his 40s. The captain of the yacht was injured during the ordeal, but Gonsalves did not disclose the nature or extent of his injuries.
“I have seen the other persons who were on the yacht and I have expressed to them our profound sorry and, on behalf of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to say to them how sad we are at this event and that they are in our thoughts and our prayers,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security.
“Our people are not like this in the general way, but you have one or two persons, we have some home-grown criminals and some who come in from overseas who are selfishly and wickedly disturbing the peace and tranquillity of our country, and, in this case, using violence,” he told radio listeners.
Gonsalves said that his government is making all the necessary arrangements to have the other persons, including the injured captain, flown to the neighbouring French island of Martinique from where they will fly out to Europe.
“This is a terrible, terrible stain on our country and this criminal act by these two masked intruders disturbing the tranquillity of persons on the yachts, it cost millions of dollars, because we sell peace, security, tranquillity,” Gonsalves said.
The attack took place early Friday morning at a sheltered cove that was part of the set for the Pirate of the Caribbean film that is a popular anchorage with yatchees.
Gonsalves said that one of the occupants of the yacht who spoke English told him that the captain had been here “10 times before and had assured them that this is a peaceful place — could hardly find somewhere more peaceful.
“And then this incident has happened, which has shattered our sense of peace and tranquillity,” Gonsalves said, adding that those on board the yacht had praised the Coast Guard, which arrived within 20 minutes of being called.
“But the Coast Guard can’t be at every single spot all of the time. We, obviously, and I have spoken to the Commissioner [of Police], have to strengthen certain security arrangements which we have in place in certain areas and to extend even further in other areas, which means additional costs for us — for the government.
“And this is what happens. We do all these terrific things to bring the tourists here to help create jobs and then we have individual criminals who behave in this kind of a manner as we have had at Walliabou.”
Gonsalves said his wife, Eloise, visited the persons who were on the yacht.
“I told them from today I consider them part of my family and I am really, really saddened. I will be writing the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel to express sorry to her government for what happened to two of their citizens, one in the case of injury, one in the case of death,” Gonsalves said.
“Naturally, there are lot of other arrangements which have to be put in place and we have the personnel who are engaged in doing this,” he told listeners.
Friday’s attack on the yacht is the second such fatal attack on a yacht in Central Leeward.
About 13 years ago, some residents of the neighbouring Central Leeward town of Barrouallie, killed the occupants and blew up a yacht anchored there. Several people were later convicted of the crime.