Posted on

Theft on the rise in Bequia



Editor: I don’t know the state of thefts, break-ins, and robberies in St. Vincent, but in Bequia, there certainly seems to be a huge problem. Many homes and rental properties have been broken into and things stolen over the past few months, but recently thieves laid in wait for a couple and on their return to their rental property were held up with a knife to the woman’s throat and robbed.{{more}}

Reports have been made on Bequia Trip Advisor with people relaying their experiences with thefts during their vacation. Guess where they won’t be coming next year, or probably ever again? Their experiences are scaring off other potential visitors.

We’ve all been impacted by the drop in visitors this season due to the world economy, but crime unstopped is going to have a huge impact on visitors to not only Bequia but all of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This will hit all of us in our pocketbooks. Fewer visitors will mean less money for everybody. Hotels, restaurants, and shops have already laid off staff due to lack of business. There won’t be people to hire taxis or rent cars or mokes. There won’t be people learning to dive or taking boat trips. There won’t be as many people to buy groceries. There won’t be people wanting to build homes here; which means there won’t be construction jobs, or people buying cement and steel and other building materials, and there won’t be more gardening work or housekeeping work. There will be fewer people to help support the charities, such as the Bequia Mission, the Sunshine School and the day care centers that rely on sponsorship.

Less earnings mean less income tax, less income tax means the government will have to find other ways to tax us to pay for the schools, hospitals, roads, etcetera. If there are no tourists we certainly won’t need an international airport as there won’t be anybody to use it.

More and more of the foreign homeowners are installing security systems with cameras, lights and alarms. It’s a shame that Bequia, where people were not that long ago able to come and open up their homes for the season and never close the doors, let alone lock them, are now having to go to these measures, not only to protect their property, but their lives. This is truly sad.

But what about the local homeowners; what are they to do to protect themselves and their property? Once there are no visitors to rob, these thieves will be robbing their friends and neighbors, if they aren’t already doing so.

Somebody must have an inkling of who these people doing this are. For a while many of the items stolen seemed to have been stolen to fill a shopping list with only certain items being taken and not others just as valuable. Just because somebody has something and is not using it right now, does not make it right to enter their property and pick through their things and take what you want, or place an order with your local ‘tief’ to get you a five finger discount DVD player or transformer, or clothes or jewelry. If you are the recipient of stolen property, I hope that every time you use that stolen item that you feel at least a twinge of guilt. I firmly believe that the thieves will eventually rot in hell, but what are we to do in the meantime, when people can’t pay their bills because there is no business, because the tourists that drive the economy stop coming.

It’s time people speak up if they know somebody who is thieving, even if it is a relative or friend. Don’t let them ruin things for everybody else.

It might also be time that when we renew our ID cards that we also have to be fingerprinted, and that the police be trained in the use of fingerprinting and print matching. Something needs to be done to aid the police in identifying criminals so that they can be tried and punished.

Liz Thomas