NewsDidier Cautions Against Targeting Russian Mega-Yachts in the Caribbean for Sanctions

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 1, 202220474 min

Veteran Saint Lucian Maritime Consultant Cuthbert Didier believes Caribbean nations that apply sanctions against Russian citizens owning super-yachts could suffer a negative backlash, at least in the short term.

Didier, a former General Manager of the Rodney Bay Marina, says Russian mega-yachts have been “a big thing for Caribbean islands, from the British Virgin Islands (BVI), down to Venezuela.”

Speaking to an Online newspaper, he said sanctions would have consequences in the short-term for the yachting sectors in Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St Maarten, St Thomas and St. Vincent & The Grenadines, all the way down to Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela.

Russian-owned superyachts have been tracked in the past week in non-independent and neutral Caribbean island-ports and tax havens as their owners avoid and evade sanctions-based seizures.

Didier says while he understands the rationale for going after Russians, “The danger is that, sadly, “We will make Peter pay for Paul…”
He also said the mega-yacht component within the Caribbean’s yachting industry “is booming…”

A close friend of fellow sailor and popular US actor Morgan Freeman and a longtime advocate of registering or mega-yachts in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean, Didier said the region needs to look beyond the current stage of the Russia-Ukraine crisis and start taking advantage of the lucrative yacht-registering industry.

“The registering of these mega-yachts, whether it is Russian, Chinese or coming from Europe, the Asian Pacific rim – it’s big business,” he explains.

“However,” he adds, “I think in the long run as these investors, these Russian billionaires, organize their papers, I think this will go away in about six months.”

Like many others who understand the marine industry and the role of yachting as an income generator for island ports, Didier insists the Caribbean “needs to realign our tourism product so we can handle transparent paperwork in registering these mega-yachts and push to have them homeport in the Caribbean.”

Didier, now retired from ‘The Marina’, has accumulated decades of experience organizing the world-famous annual Atlantic rally for Cruisers (ARC) involving scores of yachts racing across the Atlantic Ocean from The Canary Islands to Saint Lucia every year.

St. Lucia News Online

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