Originally Posted by barefootnavigator
This is absolutely tragic but will continue
The average income in St Lucia is about 6k per year. Poor criminals see rich yachts as easy targets.
OK, everybody, let's just get a few things straight here.
St Lucia is not the good old USA. 6k income, in a country where one doesn't pay income or property taxes, where medical care is free, where one doesn't own or need a vehicle (excellent and CHEAP public transportation; less that a US dollar from Rodney Bay to Castries), where fruit grows on the trees in one's yard, and food is very, very cheap (we got skinless, boneless chicken breasts last time we were in Vieux Fort for EC$5.00 a KILO; that's US$0.93 a pound!), is certainly NOT poverty level.
As we understand it at this time, they were not "Forced to stay an extra day and..." but the customs officer in Soufriere did not come to work (a family emergency or he was sick, etc. we don't know yet??) so they continued on to Vieux Fort hoping to check out there, possibly arriving too late to checkout?
The weather has been pretty calm, so it's also a possibility that these fellows were in fact smugglers from another island who thought they'd try their hand at robbery, again, we don't know yet.
As for being afraid to leave your hotel room in St. Lucia, this is not an inner city US city. The local population is extremely friendly and nonthreatening. Everybody says good day or good afternoon and is helpful and few of them, if any (we've never encountered any unfriendly islanders here) dislike visitors, whether on yachts, cruise ships or are staying at the many great hotel/resorts on the island. We frequently use local transport and travel to "the big city", Castries, with absolutely no thought that we might be in danger.
We should not condemn a whole island for an incident which is still very early in the investigative stages.
I've been coming to St Lucia since the late 70's and never heard of anything like this happening on this island. We love it here and this will not deter our returning. Just like the incident in Union Island, it is an isolated incident, unlikely to be repeated. St. Lucia relies almost entirely on tourism and the perpetrators will be caught and punished, without a doubt. Cross it off your itinerary if you wish, but you will be missing one of the friendliest and most interesting islands anywhere in the world; your loss.
BBC update; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25797968