The Chicago Sun Times has an article today regarding the impact of crime against cruise passengers in the Bahamas. The article is entitled "Sometimes, it's not better in the Bahamas - Armed robberies in Nassau have tourists, cruise lines on the defensive."
The article is by a Disney cruise passenger, Carney Milne, who took the now infamous Segway tour into the 160 acre nature preserve called "Earth Village" last month.
Ms. Milne toured the preserve with eight other passengers from Disney's cruise ship, the Wonder. Two hooded and armed gunmen forced her and the other passengers to the ground. She vividly describes that she was "paralyzed by fear" as one gunman pumped his shotgun and later fired a warning shot as he robbed the passengers of their valuables.
The robbers then turned their guns on nine cruise ship passengers, from Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, after they arrived on the scene riding their Segways.
After the robbery, the Bahamian police repeatedly told her that “this never happens in the Bahamas. Never.” But after returning to the U.S., she learned that’s not true. She reports that "an almost identical mass armed robbery took place a month earlier at Queen’s Staircase, another popular tourist destination. Eleven cruise passengers were held at gunpoint and robbed of their cash, jewelry and other belongings."
We discussed the "Queen's Staircase" armed robberies in October - Eleven Cruise Passengers Robbed in Nassau. No one else in the U.S. covered this brazen armed robbery of cruise tourists in downtown Nassau on a beautiful Sunday morning.
The New York Times recently ran an story called "When Crime Comes to Paradise." Written by Michelle Higgins in the Times' "Practical Traveler" section, the article suggests that crime is rising in Belize, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, and St. Lucia.
Just yesterday we reported on 14 Cruise Passengers Robbed at Anse-La-Raye Waterfall in St. Lucia.
Again, no newspaper in the U.S. covered this story of cruise passengers being robbed while on a cruise sponsored excursion.
I was quoted today in the Chicago Sun Times article saying: "This isn’t random — these cruise tours are being targeted . . . you’re not going to be targeted for armed robbery as a cruise tourist on a ship from Seattle to Alaska. It’s more of a reflection of what’s happening in the Caribbean and the poverty that exists outside of the city limits, and people who are desperate for money.”
Now, the tourism boards in St. Lucia and the Bahamas are not going to be happy with stories like these. But the fact of the matter is that 43 cruise passengers have been robbed at gunpoint in the last two months.
The Bahamas still sell t-shirts claiming that its "Better in the Bahamas." And the cruise lines keep these crimes secret as they make hundreds of millions of dollars selling excursions to unsuspecting guests who are offloaded into increasingly dangerous ports of call.
"Caribbean Crime and Violence" Douglas A. Lawson