Following the murder of Capt. Drew Gollan of Perseus in Antigua a few months ago, the nation’s government officials have been holding meetings and communicating with local business representatives to step up security, for megayacht visitors as well as other tourists. Earlier this week, they provided updates on specific measures taken to date as well as plans for the coming months, as examples of a “zero tolerance” policy toward crime.
According to the Antigua & Barbuda Marine Association, which sent a representative to the meeting, Errol Cort, the newly appointed Minister for National Security of Antigua & Barbuda, explained that all vehicles entering and leaving the English Harbour/Falmouth area are stopped and searched. The same is being done in other parts of the island, too. In addition, there are increased police patrols both on foot and in cars and more reliance on the Coast Guard to protect the harbors.
Tom Bennett, the police commissioner, also attended the meeting and added that the police force has been restructured and that officers are receiving new equipment and training to better do their jobs. He requested that superyacht crew, guests, and others continue to provide his department with any information regarding offenses via Crimestoppers Antigua’s local phone number, 800-TIPS.
John Duffy, president of the Antigua & Barbuda Marine Association, revealed that other local businesses as well as visitors had relayed approval of security steps taken to date.
Even with the positive feedback, however, local officials are not done. There are plans to install CCTV cameras in the English Harbour, Falmouth, and Pigeon Beach regions. In addition, the cooperation between the local businesses and the police will be encouraged elsewhere on the islands, to keep safety and security at high levels.
As horrible as it is that a crime had to occur to spur these efforts, let’s be glad that things seem to be turning for the better. And let’s hope the programs inspire other yachting-destination officials to prioritize safety and keep open lines of communication with their communities.
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