President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cruise Tourism Association (ABCTA) Nathan Dundas is appealing to the necessary authorities to ensure that there is proper security at beaches across the island.
Dundas’ call comes a few days after two cruise ship passengers were allegedly robbed at Long Bay Beach.
They were passengers onboard the Carnival Victory, the cruise ship which made its first call to Antigua last Friday.
According to reports reaching the Antigua Sun, the guests reportedly took a taxi tour to Long Bay Beach. At about 4:20 p.m., just after they finished swimming and were preparing to return to the taxi, the man who they described as a Rastafarian allegedly demanded money from them and threatened to shoot them if they did not yield to his demand.
The guests reportedly started to run to their waiting taxi and the male guests reportedly jumped through the driver’s window while screaming that he was being robbed.
This did not deter the man as he allegedly followed them to the taxi and again demanded that they give him all their money or he was going to shoot them. He kept on making his demands although the driver tried talking to him.
At this time, the tourists had no choice but to empty their pockets and give him the money they had in their possessions. After collecting the money, the alleged robber escaped through some nearby bushes. The tourists and the driver reported the matter to the Willikies Police Station and to the police outpost which is located at the Heritage Quay pier before boarding the cruise ship.
When contacted by the SUN for a comment, Dundas said he was informed late Friday evening that the cruise line was considering this matter seriously and would be evaluating their calls and the safety of their passengers in Antigua.
He said on Saturday he, along with the taxi driver and the police revisited the scene of the crime and the police, after receiving certain information were able to catch the alleged perpetrator that evening.
“This is a problem I have been stressing over and over again, we need to have the police officers at our popular attractions and beaches, these robbers are targeting our tourists. If we have the police presence for the entire day until the tourists leave the beaches, then it will act as a deterrent for these scoundrels,” Dundas stated.
Dundas commended the police for their quick action and also thanked the taxi driver for the way he handled the situation though his life was at risk.
“It could have ended in a loss of life or lives. I’m making a public appeal to the police commissioner and the tourism minister to please have the police at our beaches. Let’s protect our main industry,” Dundas stated.