LPM says it blames government for British tourist’s murder

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LPM says it blames government for British tourist’s murder
Robert Pratt
Robert Pratt

The brutal murder of Robert Pratt, a British sailor who was allegedly denied clearance to leave Saint Lucia last Thursday, should not come as a surprise to anyone, according to the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) political party.

“Moreover, if it is proven that Pratt and his wife were denied clearance to leave because of our nation’s overbearing bureaucratic system and that the delay in processing their request to return to their homeland might have opened them up to the prying eyes of criminal elements, then our government no doubt has a lot to answer to the United Kingdom and the rest of the international community,” the LPM said in a press statement.

In Pratt’s online travel journal, he wrote about the difficulties encountered, a day before his death: “On Thursday morning the plan was to clear out from Soufriere, then to travel south and use up the 72 hours before we had to be away.  But bureaucracy intervened.   HM Customs and Excise (sic) in Soufriere told us that exit had to happen within 24 hours of clearing out; and that anyway, we couldn’t clear out of Soufriere that day because the Immigration Officer hadn’t come to work (!!).”

Based on that information from Pratt’s blog, the LPM insists that for “For many years now, Saint Lucian governments—and, in particular, those led by Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony from 1996 to 2006 and 2011 to the present—haven’t done much to create an environment of ease whereby locals and visitors alike are able to  conduct government-related business in a speedy and timely manner. This, the LPM says, must be reviewed in order to trim the unnecessary bureaucracy and create confidence in the ability of the government of Saint Lucia to operate within a modern and acceptable system that meets most international standards.”

Also, in assessing the government’s handling of the situation following Pratt’s murder, the LPM states that it is appalled by the denial and continued attempts to paint an inaccurate picture of how ruthless the criminal elements on the island have become.

In doing so, the party points to a statement issued by Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus, affirming that “Saint Lucia remains relatively safe for nationals and visitors alike.” However, the LPM disagrees and instead suggests to Theophilus “that our nation would be better served if his government would take a more critical look at what is happening in the country instead of focusing on a narrow public relations stunt that simply seeks to mask or deny the ruthless nature of crime in Saint Lucia”.

According to the LPM ” a simple review of the national statistics indicates that we have lost over 300 citizens (mostly young people) to homicide in the last eight years. Therefore, while the government and its misguided group of supporters continue to ridicule attempts to highlight the serious nature of the problem, Saint Lucia can never effectively move to manage its crime problem unless there is an acknowledgement on the part of the government that this situation is grievous”.

The LPM “suggests that the effective management of crime does not entail a willful attempt to mislead the Saint Lucian citizens into believing that they risk tarnishing the image of our country should they speak forcefully against the savagery of criminal activities on the island. Rather, true patriotism mandates that we all place our country above all else, including the selfish and self-serving attempts to keep our party in power”.

The LPM maintains that combating crime requires a “progressive government that is willing to forsake all political theatrics and instead focus on uniting our nation in order to provide effective security throughout the length and breadth of Saint Lucia. It certainly does not involve having a complacent or passive attitude to crime, or the kind of deafening silence that seems to emanate from within the halls of the government of Saint Lucia following numerous incidents in which locals are gunned down or butchered to death”.

The LPM says that such “official behaviour only serves to embolden criminals by sending the wrong signal that the government of Saint Lucia is unable to carry out its responsibility of ensuring that it maintains a safe and stable society”.

“Therefore, unless there is open acknowledgement of the problem, we can expect to have other unfortunate incidents such as those involving Robert Pratt, and Colin Peter (a Canadian citizen who was murdered while vacationing in Saint Lucia in November of 2012), among others,” the political party concluded.

Police said three persons are currently in custody assisting with investigations surrounding Pratt’s death.

In a press release received by our newsroom late Saturday, the police disclosed details about the incident in which 62-year-old Roger Pratt was killed and his wife, Margaret Pratt, was injured.

According to the police, “About midnight on Friday, January 17, 2014, officers attached to the Vieux Fort Police Station responded to a report of robbery on a vessel named “Magnetic Attraction” which was berthed at the Seaport in Vieux Fort.

“On arrival, the officers received information that three armed men had boarded the vessel, attacked and injured the occupants before they fled. At the time of the incident, the vessel was occupied by 60-year-old Margaret Pratt and her 62-year-old husband, Roger Pratt.

“Within minutes of the robbers fleeing, Margaret went in search of her husband and found him floating in the nearby waters. Roger was retrieved and transported to St. Jude Hospital via ambulance along with his wife. He was pronounced dead on arrival while Margaret was treated and discharged.

“A post mortem examination has been scheduled for Monday, January 20, 2014.”

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Somebody mentioned that there is crime in US and UK but no travel alerts are issued. Typical foolish St. Lucians. The US and UK issue alerts to their citizens, fool. When was the last time your country issued anything to help you make a decision? We wilol be judged by those on the outside because we are all part of this liar make-belief island.

    A foreigner dies we have 3 Ministers talking. 5 Citizens may have well lost their life as a resulf of inadeaquate information to the nation about a weather system. Have those sick responsible Ministers apologised? No. Simply because St. Lucians are rats. They do not even care for their own saftey, simply read what the comments are like "government don't have to be blamed" We guess what the US and UK simply blames all St. Lucians and i agree. Too stupid to have elected the brightest among fools.

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    • What the person was trying to say was that st Lucian don't get any travel alerts when traveling to the US and UK if or when there is murders in the said countries

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  2. The LPM stands by its press release today, and will make no apology for its argument that “if it is proven that Pratt and his wife were denied clearance to leave because of our nation’s overbearing bureaucratic system ... then our government no doubt has a lot to answer to the United Kingdom and the rest of the international community.”
    Moreover, whether or not the blogs which were earlier today highlighted by the BBC and other British news portal were inaccurate, it does not in any detract from the reality that Saint Lucia does have overbearing system of bureaucracy.

    Crime in our homeland is what claimed the life of Mr. Pratt. Therefore, unless we end the political hypocrisy and denial, there can be no resolution of the problem.

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  3. The LPM now have to the the people of St.Lucia they are sorry for making this unfounded news release.

    Mrs.Pratt has confirmed the Custom/Port did in no way stop them from sailing out of the Island.

    LPM story has now been debunk.

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  4. We have cancelled our plans to visit St Lucia in 2014 because of this murder. THere are plenty of other places to spend our family sailing holidays that are safer. Much safer. Sorry St Lucia but you as an island will suffer if you continue to not take crime seriously and do not take steps to protect the lives of your visitors.

    Condolences to the family of Robert Pratt. I hope the pain of coping with your loss eases as the days pass and you remember Robert as someone who died doing what he loved.

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  5. THERE ARE NO TRAVEL ALERTS FOR TRAVELING TO THE U.S. OR BRITAIN, YOU TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN RISK. NO I AM NOT EXCUSING ANY CRIMINAL ACTIVITY IN SLU. THE LPM IS A JOKE, ANYBODY CAN POINT FINGERS. IT IS HOWEVER HARDER TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

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  6. WHETHER YOU'LL LIKE IT OR NOT WE HAVE SERIOUS PROBLEMS IN THIS COUNTRY. WE NEED TO SEND A STRONG MESSAGE TO CRIMINAL ELEMENTS THAT CRIME OF ANY DEGREE WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. ITS A GOOD THING THIS COUPLE DID NOT LEAVE THE ISLAND WHEN THEY WERE TOLD TO BECAUSE ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON THEY WERE AT MY BUSINESS PLACE SUPPORTING MY ECONOMY. I AM DISHEARTENED WHEN WE TODAY ARE SO POLITICALLY MOTIVATED THAT WE CANT COME TOGETHER TO PUT PRESSURE ON THE POWERS THAT BE TO MAKE IT UNCOMFORTABLE FOR CRIMINALS TO LIVE IN ST.LUCIA. THIS NEWS IS MAKING HEADLINE IN THE UK AND ST.LUCIA IS GETTING ALOT OF NEGATIVE PUBLICITY FROM THIS. THIS COUNTRY DOES NOT NEED THIS KIND OF ADVERTISING AT THIS POINT. THINGS ARE ALREADY SO HARD HERE. BUSINESS ARE GOING BELLY UP ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. JOBS ARE BEING LOST. NO NEW EMPLOYMENT. GOVERNMENT HAS NOT COME UP WITH ANY IDEAS FOR SUSTAINABLE EMPLOYMENT. CRIME IS ON THE INCREASE. ILLEGAL DRUGS IS NOW THE NEW GREEN GOLD. YOUNG MEN ARE KILLING EACH OTHER, OUR PEOPLE ARE ANGRY.

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  7. IT IS AMAZING HOW THIS COUPLE HAD BEEN SAILING FOR 7 MONTHS AND NEVER HAD A PROBLEM UNTIL THEY CAME TO ST.LUCIA. SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE!

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  8. Such Arrant nonsense by the LPM once more.They have nothing of substance to offer so they go blaming the government of St Lucia.
    No political party whether in power or not can stop crimes from happening. Why make such pronouncement? Such statements epitomises what the LPM is all about - A bunch of opportunists who will say anything to appease the Lucian public.

    Talking about our government have a lot to answer to the United Kingdom.This was echoed with typical colonial aplomb. Have they forgotten that St Lucia is an independent state and is answerable to no one but herself.We are a self-determined country and are quite capable of handling our own state of affairs - thank you very much LPM.

    This is a criminal matter and only the parties implicated are the ones that needs getting involved. I am of course referring to the suspects, police, witnesses, surviving victim and the law courts. This has nothing to do with the UK or St Lucian government.

    We are no longer a colony of Britain. We have no explanation to give to them. Have they given us an explanation for their brutal colonization of us? No they have not. Have the British said sorry for enslaving millions of our black folks in the Caribbean? No they have not.So we owe them no apology or explanation whatsoever.

    Once the case is processed and the culprits have been found guilty and the appropriate punishment been given then by all means the department of tourism can offer an apology to the late victim's wife and family. Lets not bring politics into this LPM.

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    • I may not be able to read and make sense of the news like you can but you sure talking crap. LPM is right for bringing this thingsup. It's what a lot of people down here feel but have no one to say it for them. Bravo to that party!

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  9. THE VISITORS WERE NEVER DENIED CLEARANCE OUT OF THE ISLAND.WHEN CLEARING OUT YOU HAVE 24HRS AFTER THE CLEARANCE IS ISSUED TO LEAVE OUR WATERS WEATHER OR NOT IMMIGRATION IS PRESENT. IT IS THE DUTY OF THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT TO HAVE AN IMMIGRATION OFFICER AVAILABLE AT ALL PORTS DURING THE NORMAL WORKING HOURS. AND IF THEY ARE NOT PRESENT THEN THE VISITORS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE ONCE THEY HAVE CLEARED FROM CUSTOMS. THE 72HRS CLEARANCE IS ISSUED UPON CLEARANCE PROVIDING THAT THE CREW ON-BOARD REMAINS THE SAME AND THE BOAT STAYS NO LONGER THAN 72 HRS WITH THAT THE BOAT IS CLEARED IN AND OUT AT THAT POINT. THE 72 HRS THE VISITORS WERE REFERRING TO I THINK IS THE PERMIT TO MOOR THAT THEY PURCHASED ALLOWING ANY VISITORS TO MOORE AT ANY PLACE OTHER THAN A CUSTOMS PORT.SO BECAUSE THEY HAD ALREADY PURCHASED THIS PERMIT THEY DECIDED IT MAKES NO SENSE TO CLEAR OUT WHEN THEY ONLY HAVE 24HRS SO THEY WERE JUST GONNA USE UP THE PERMIT WHICH IS 72HRS

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  10. It was with deep sorrow I read of the Brutal attack and death of British National in ST Lucia waters , I have studied the crime all through the caribbean , mostly due to the horrendous attack on my Brother on Tobago,not enough is done to protect tourists by the country of attack or the government of the victims,the whole of the caribbean countries are dangerous, poor policing , some laces racism, time for tourists to band together in one group and fight for the rights of tourists, there are so many horror stories, take the time to read them,boycot the caribbean for a year, hit them financially , contact your MP for firmer warnings on visiting, once again my condolences to the family of the latest ST Lucia British victim.

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  11. In re:
    "...The LPM “suggests that the effective management of crime does not entail a willful attempt to mislead the Saint Lucian citizens into believing that they risk tarnishing the image of our country should they speak forcefully against the savagery of criminal activities on the island. Rather, true patriotism mandates that we all place our country above all else, including the selfish and self-serving attempts to keep our party in power ...”

    Do you know why generally the politicians and the media of the likes of Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and Guyana, do not practice as you preach above, Mr. Prudent?

    Because of love of country and the mature comprehension that dousing fire with gasoline cannot fail to make matters significantly
    worse.

    Look at the bigger picture man! Surely you can do better than this!

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  12. we couldn't clear out of Soufriere that day because the Immigration Officer hadn't come to work (!!).”I do not know the whole story,for example why they were not allowed to leave, but the system do suck. If the immigration officer is out of work for 2-5 days, are you telling me work is on hold?

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  13. LPM, You've always had very good ideas and I wanted y'all to form the last government, but you guys need to tie some loose ends. For example, be on Island for at least a whole year before election so that people can take you seriously. Often, it takes an outsider to effect change...it's true.

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  14. in all honesty I believe a reason for denying the couple departure should be given.
    hindsight is always 20/20 but if these people were allowed to leave when they wanted to. they would not have been in SLU waters and would not have been a target.

    this is not to say these criminals would not have done it to another person. but we jus never know.

    this killing of foreign nationals is only bad for our country

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  15. Is this the approach the the leader if this party wants to take. Really. Can he nention one country where crime us not an issue. Crime us part of human nature and can be somewhat cobtrolled but never eliminated. To blame a government for the crime situation is quite ridiculous. To state even further that st lucia is not a safe destination is crazy to say the least. Is this his way of attemptijg to destroy our economy in an effort to win political power.

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    • Nonesense!!!!!!! LPM as far as I see in on target!!! We just have too many sitiwes in this country. Economy? What economy? You want to allow crime to finish wrecking the country in the same of economy?? LPM go ahead and blaze that path. Call out the hypocrites.

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  16. If they had taken the Officer's advice (though incorrect) and leave within the 24hrs from Thursday, that would not have happened. If the immigration officer was present and the clearance was issued on Thursday, they had the right to and would have stayed for 72 hrs after that clearance, as planned. That means they would have still been in St Lucia on Friday night. Maybe the Customs Officer wrong advice was a bless in disguise.

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  17. LPM don't start that nonsense......blame the Americans they stop assisting the Marine Unit who use to patrol our waters........ Inter America Commission on Human Rights....thx for everything.

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  18. Thank you Therold. You are a shining beacon of clarity piercing through a fog of BS. Lorne's response was a masterful exercise in how to give a non-apology. He can't even be bothered to help his own constituents and it's clear that he is only interested in saving his tourism portfolio.

    As someone from the UK I spend hours telling everyone how amazing st lucia is, and all my hard work has now been undone. St Lucia's loss is now another island's gain.

    I pray that one day someone honest and enlightened gets a steer on the country and gives the leadership st lucia deserves.

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    • Whatever!!! How about you spend these hours giving back to your country and building our human resource capacity. Otherwise keep your sorry..$ comments to yourself. You guys always want to stay from overseas and criticize. Get your A$$e$ here and make a difference. ChuupS!!!

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      • You are down there and what are your doing to make St Lucia any better. All you can do is make it an argument of us against them overseas. You sorry arse statement does not help to put bread on people's table.
        Today, I am sitting here in my travel office in LA and all I can see are alerts to me on St Lucia as a destination to be exercise caution.
        You can fool the fools that band with you down there if you want, but you can't fool those that have to provide the tourist dollar from out of St Lucia.

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      • is that you Lorne? You are right, why should I try and help st lucia, when it's just full of ungrateful ignorants like you. Do you not want me to tell my friends to visit and throw some dollars your way?

        Go and read the international news to see what people think of your island now, you might be a little more humble.

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