The recent murder here of British national Robert ‘Bob’ Hathaway may cause potential visitors to wonder whether Saint Lucia is a safe destination, National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis has indicated.
He said that the incident was unfortunate.
“It is our loss also,” the minister explained.
“When you look at the circumstances, I think that our tourists are safe – they come to Saint Lucia and they enjoy themselves,” the former Deputy Police Commissioner told reporters at a news conference Monday.
He asserted that ‘Bob’ Hathaway has been here for a number of years.
“I treat him as a local,” the minister stated.
“So it is not that we are attacking or getting at British individuals or visitors – that is not so,” Francis stated.
Several British nationals have been killed here in recent time.
“It appears that the press is slanting it in such a way – not our local press, that we seem to be targeting British people. I don’t think that is so. If you look at the incidents that have occurred in Saint Lucia, they all have their peculiar circumstances and we have to take each as they present themselves,” he explained.
The minister said there will always be negative press when a loved one or a countryman dies in the manner that ‘Bob’ Hathaway passed away.
“I think that is understandable, but we as a local press – we have to look at it in such a way that we send the truth out there and make persons in the wider world know that Saint Lucia is not as dangerous as people are claiming it to be,” Francis asserted.
The minister expressed the view that there would not be a “big fallout” from the ‘Bob’ Hathaway murder.
He made reference to a list of the 25 most dangerous countries in the world, which he said features this country at number 19.
According to the minister, there were several other Caribbean countries that were ‘way ahead’ of Saint Lucia.
But he made it clear that this brings no comfort.
“We need to get off that list completely and we are working towards that,” he told Monday’s news conference.
Asked by reporters whether he was satisfied with the performance of Police Commissioner, Severin Moncherry, Hermangild Francis responded that if he were unhappy, Moncherry would not be the top cop.
Francis declared in response to a question, that he was “very happy” with his own performance as National Security Minister.