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Local businessman demands security for yachting sector

Local businessman demands security for yachting sector

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A frustrated businessman has threatened to begin a strategy of attack on the local yachting sector, if efforts are not made to address the break-ins being experienced, by yachts anchored in the Wallilabou area.{{more}}

Anthony “The Shadow” Edwards, proprietor of the Pirate’s Retreat Bar and Restaurant at Wallilabou, says that he is disgusted by what has been taking place and by the seeming lack of attention that the issue has been receiving from the relevant persons.

Edwards, on the New Times radio programme on Monday, threatened to shut down his business, then begin a strategy of attacks on the local yachting sector, by sending messages to contacts abroad to avoid St Vincent and the Grenadines as a destination.

“I have choices, options — I have people monitoring the station…it is not hard to stop terrorists, it is not hard to stop pirates and it’s not hard to keep burglars from doing these things. I will close the Pirate’s Retreat, I will close the compound to all guests. I will take what is left of the movie building down…then go to war on the computer, asking friends, telling them why I am doing what I am doing and ask them to stand by me,” Edwards said.

According to the businessman, there were a series of yacht burglaries back in 2005, but they stopped after he took the onus upon himself to provide security to the yachters.

He further said that there were three break-ins which occurred during the first week in April, this year.

Edwards said that he has reported the incidents to the police, including the Commissioner of Police, but he says that he has had no response — not even from the community.

He credits police based at the Barrouallie Police Station, whom he said have been on the ball, but explained that because of their limited resources, have not been effective.

Cecil McKie, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, on Tuesday, during a press briefing said that the matter had been an ongoing challenge, but that in the same way that security patrols had been stepped up on Bequia, where similar problems were being experienced, the idea was to increase patrols at all yacht destinations throughout the country.

“We have taken a number of initiatives at Wallilabou, North Leeward,” McKie said.

Initiatives include engaging water taxi operators and store owners and the installation of lights, although he admitted that the area still may need more lighting.

He promised to implement other initiatives in order to address the issue, and said a team was expected to journey to Wallilabou yesterday (Thursday), to identify and put additional measures in place to deal with the issue.

“We have to call on everyone to get involved in this process, so that we can attack the problem from all angles,” the Minister of Tourism said.

Edwards also stated that, regarding the last three break-ins, he intends to contact Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, requesting a full reimbursement to the captains of the vessels that had been broken into.

“I am going to find out the full cost and am going to demand that a financial price be brought to you (the captains) in three weeks,” Edwards said.

“Diplomacy requires of me not to say what I will do; I am a man with friends and they are listening.

“Dr Gonsalves, this is your domain — you are the chief — I am accusing you of not doing anything meaningful in Wallilabou in 11 years, but with respect, if we need these people to help us build our country, we have a responsibility — I’ll send you the bill,” Edwards said. (DD)

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