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Yacht robberies on the rise in waters off Mayreau, say residents

Yacht robberies on the rise  in waters off Mayreau,  say residents

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Residents of Mayreau are sounding the alarm that yacht robberies in the waters off their island are again on the rise.{{more}}

They are therefore once more seeking assistance from the local authorities to replace a patrol boat that was damaged about a year ago.

According to parliamentary representative for the Southern Grenadines Terrance Ollivierre, after a speed boat was “fixed up” by residents in Mayreau in 2010, and used as a patrol boat, there was a reduction in the number of break-ins of yachts anchored off the 1.5 square mile island.

“The boat was at the Tobago Cays office dock in Union Island and the people here (Mayreau) took the boat and fixed it. Fibre glass, paint and do all the work needed, because they realized how important the yachting industry has been to the island,” Ollivierre said.

However, the patrol boat was damaged sometime in April of 2012 and since then, residents say the robberies have resumed, and this has resulted in a reluctance by yacht owners to go ashore, because of fear their boats may be broken into.

“The people of Mayreau are very resilient,” Ollivierre told SEARCHLIGHT.

“They set up their business because there are very few jobs that come from the government.

“So, through tourism and fishing, that’s how they own their livelihood.

“Now, they depend heavily on the yachts that dock here…

“But what we found is that when the people who visit here from the yachts are ashore at the restaurants, then that’s the time the yachts are being broken into,” the parliamentary representative explained.

SEARCHLIGHT learnt that the boat was used to patrol the waters where the yachts docked in Mayreau and on regular basis would also patrol the waters of Union Island and Canouan.

Ollivierre explained that the residents made the decision to fix the boat after they did not receive requested assistance from the government.

“Residents took matters into their own hands,” he said.

“They set up their own security system where local guys went out on the boat they fixed up and patrolled the water with the lone police officer that has been stationed here since then…

“So you find that the hoteliers would have paid the local guys who offered their service to patrol the waters while the visitors were ashore…,” he informed.

Other residents of Mayreau told SEARCHLIGHT that the situation has become alarming, as most people there depend heavily on the yachties as a means of livelihood.

“The boat is there. Look it on the ground there. We fixed it up and since it got damaged and we ask for help again, no response yet,” one man said.

Monreo Forde, a resident of Mayreau, confirmed with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday night that yachts visiting the island had been burglarized since the patrol boat got damaged.

“We’ve had reports of break-ins, yes. More than once…” he said.

The most recent robbery occurred sometime between April 27 and 28. An arrest was made regarding that matter, but the robbery could have been prevented if that patrol boat was up and running, in my opinion,” Forde added. (AA)

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