Yachting enthusiast, Christopher Kessell, has bemoaned what he describes as the sorry state of affairs in relation to the yachting industry here.
Kessell asserted in a Facebook message to Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, that due to break ins and the theft of dinghies, yachtsmen do not feel safe here.
He pointed out that in addition to break ins and thefts, popular anchorage sites like Rodney Bay are affected by noise pollution due to loud music being broadcast out towards the bay from Gros Islet almost every evening of the week, driving ‘yachties’ away.
“St. Annes in Martinique is benefitting significantly as a result, as most live board yachties would rather sail the four hours over to stay in Martinique than stay in Saint Lucia,” the yachting enthusiast declared.
“Customs procedures are also easier and fee compared to Saint Lucia and the lack of free WiFi in the bay are just a few other detriments that have driven the yachts away,” he observed.
He explained that there are a number of sailing groups on Facebook, some specific to Saint Lucia, that have been lamenting this fact.
“In many cases, some of these same yachties are trying to convince others not to come to Saint Lucia at all due to the risk and inconvenience,” Kessell stated.
He said that something needs to be done to try to encourage the yachts to come back to Saint Lucia.
“Please look into this for those of us who depend on yachting in Saint Lucia,” Kessell wrote.
Kessell, a Marine Surveyor, observed that yachtsmen and women who live aboard their own boats contribute significantly to the local economy.
He noted that they spend money on groceries, fuel, water, marine supplies and other items, as well as frequent restaurants and bars on a regular basis.
“On a tourist basis, a yachtsman most likely contributes significantly more to the local economy than a tourist staying at an all-inclusive hotel,” Kessell wrote.
He attached a screen grab from one of the sailing groups with a comment from a yachtsman ‘that shows the sorry state of affairs’.
The comment, asserting that Saint Lucia has ‘major problems’, outlines several concerns and ends by urging this country to ‘wake up.’