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Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee maintains that Saint Lucia is one of the safest places to visit in the Caribbean, stating that there is no information to suggest that crime has had a significant impact on visitors experience.
Fedee said like every other place in the world, there is crime and as a citizen and resident of Saint Lucia he feels safe, although admitting that there might be some places people should avoid.
“I would like Police Department and the Home Affairs Ministry to speak with more specificity and wisdom on the situation, as it relates to crime on the island and the implications it has one tourists and people who have invested here,” the minister said on Monday.
As it relates to cruise ship tourists being allegedly robbed in the city, Fedee said the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism continues to dialogue with private sector partners to see how best they can collectively deal with these and other challenges facing the tourism sector.
“We need to take a comprehensive look at the industry and we need to respond in a more holistic way,” he asserted.
Asked if he would recommend having a high police presence on the streets of Castries to avoid muggings, Fedee said, “you don’t want to make your destination look like a military parade.”
However, he assured the public that his ministry is working closely with the Home Affairs Ministry to see how best they could address the issue, so that there is less cases.
But more importantly, he said, “I think it is a problem for all us and I think we need to embrace it as our own.”
While in opposition, Fedee had suggested a bi-partisan approach towards tackling the crime situation.
“I think it has to be a joint parliamentary approach, whereby Parliament needs to set up a sub-committee to oversee crime and deal with it very urgently,” he told the media in December 2015.
Saint Lucia has long been considered a dangerous place to travel due to high level of crime.
In 2014, Saint Lucia was ranked as one of the top 10 most dangerous cruise destinations in the world, according to an article on an international cruise website – www.cruiselawnews.com.
And in 2015, the US State Department warned Americans that crime is rising, with tourists being “targeted often” for petty crime, especially in the island’s capital, Castries.
In August 2016, Canadian government issued an upgraded advisory warning its nationals to exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to Saint Lucia due to moderate crime rates.
The advisory said its citizens should avoid places like: Marchand, Broglie Street, Grass Street, Leslie Land, and Wilton’s Yard, located off of Chausee Road, because of high rates of crime in those areas.