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Old 23-01-2009, 15:51   #1
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Murder in Antigua

Just got this email from friends who are still in English Harbor.....

We've heard some bad news here today. The captain of mega yacht "Pegasus," a massive Fedship stationed here in Falmouth Harbor, was murdered last night. He was walking back from a restaurant after dinner last night with his wife and a car of locals demanded his wife's purse. When they denied the order, the captain was shot. This is big news here today as all the Mega Yachts are discussing leaving Falmouth to head elsewhere as a message to the local law enforcement agencies.

In another incident over in Jolly Harbor last week, a boat was boarded at night while the owners slept and items were stolen. When the owner heard the intruders and confronted them he was pistol whipped and knocked unconscious. Both stories are confirmed as true (not your typical cruiser paranoia). There is no link to the two incidents, but scary nevertheless.

Antigua seems just as safe as home to us, so this is all very surprising. I guess the message here is to remain vigilant and to keep your boat/dingy locked up - particularly at night. Keep safe.


We were in Antigua just two weeks ago and it seemed safe as ever so this is suprising to me as well.....
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Old 23-01-2009, 16:04   #2
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Horrible news.

Something tells me that a mass exodus won't help much either as it will be short lived.

From: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/...ht-Slaying.php
Quote:

Australian skipper shot and killed in Antigua

The Associated Press
Friday, January 23, 2009
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua: A gunman shot and killed the Australian skipper of a yacht in Antigua, police said Friday, stirring protests in the affluent boating community that has become a target of the Caribbean island's crime wave.
The victim was shot in the chest at close range Thursday night as he walked through a dockyard area near English Harbor with his girlfriend, Police Commissioner Thomas Bennett said. The motive was unclear and no arrests have been made, Bennett said.
A police official who could not be quoted by name because he was not authorized to speak to the news media identified the victim as Drew Gollan, captain of the 163-foot (50-meter) sailing yacht Perseus.
The shooting outraged boaters, business owners and local residents, who complained at an impromptu meeting Friday that the government has not done enough to protect the yacht-packed English Harbor area.
Louis Rich said that he planned to leave the island ahead of schedule on his yacht Alfa Nero. He said one of his own crew members had been robbed the previous week and he was concerned about their safety.
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer told the roughly 100 people gathered at the Abracadabra restaurant that police will increase patrols.
The twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda has been struggling with a rise in slayings, including the July shooting of British honeymooners Catherine and Benjamin Mullany in their cottage at a beachside resort.
"English Harbor draws a lot of these big yachts and money, and whoever is doing the crime is seeing the money," said Kristi Chesher, an American visitor who runs a Newport, R.I.-based boating concierge company. "The community is devastated really; not only the yachting community but the locals."
Gollan was among nine permanent crew members for the Perseus, which has a Steinway piano in the main saloon and is available for charters at $175,000 per week, according to a recent review by the online magazine CharterWave."

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Old 23-01-2009, 18:56   #3
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Very unfortunate. Lets not jump to conclusions that cruising is any more dangerous than the other things we do in our lives. Please, lets not get into a gun discussion.
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Old 23-01-2009, 20:47   #4
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I wonder if the recent rise in crime has to do with the loss of the Canadian Police Commissioner in August 2008.

Link: Antigua Sun

I tried to find some census material but could not find anything recent.

As this homicide occurred on land, during a late night walk, it should be treated more as a local crime against tourists rather than something specifically targeted at Cruisers I would think. However, I am sure that cruisers that frequent there feel differently of course. Such a sad story in such a beautiful place.

Let us hope that something changes in the near future to prevent this from happening again.
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Old 23-01-2009, 22:40   #5
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Very sad...The one thing that comes to mind is the media reporting the piracy from Somalia. The jerks getting away with millions of dollars in ransom and very few of them getting caught. Perhaps these thugs see this and think it's a free for all.
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Old 23-01-2009, 23:44   #6
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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Very sad...The one thing that comes to mind is the media reporting the piracy from Somalia. The jerks getting away with millions of dollars in ransom and very few of them getting caught. Perhaps these thugs see this and think it's a free for all.
Yeah I completely agree. I think you nailed it. When people in dire economic situations only have to look at a local newspaper to see multi-million dollar ransoms and boardings of expensive yachts as the "Trend", they only have to look at their local Anchorage and put the two together.

What surprises me is that in a lot of these recent cases people are getting gunned down for no reason. Killing that man didn't serve any purpose in the theft, nor did the slaying of that other captain a few months ago when he brought water to the thieves. I hate to sound crude, but it is almost amateurish in a sense. Maybe that speaks loudly of how badly they need money and end up commiting these crimes. If the goal is to get money, murdering someone is not going to help.

Here in Chicago, rarely does anyone end up getting killed over a mugging. It attracts a lot of unwanted attention and it doesnt help get someone's walet any faster. Would you really want to take a purse or wallet from someone that you have just killed in cold blood?

Such a shame. Hope they get the guy(s).
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Old 24-01-2009, 04:33   #7
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The bad guys in Antigua are indeed desperate for money--they need it for their drug habits. There were some very violent crimes around the Dockyard area last year during Antigua race week, and we didn't feel safe walking around after dark. The locals don't trust the police, who are incompetent and corrupt political appointees.

This pattern of drug-induced crime and police incompetence is not unique to Antigua--its repeated up and down the Caribbean islands.
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Old 24-01-2009, 06:47   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patient View Post
I wonder if the recent rise in crime has to do with the loss of the Canadian Police Commissioner in August 2008.

Link: Antigua Sun

I tried to find some census material but could not find anything recent.

As this homicide occurred on land, during a late night walk, it should be treated more as a local crime against tourists rather than something specifically targeted at Cruisers I would think. However, I am sure that cruisers that frequent there feel differently of course. Such a sad story in such a beautiful place.

Let us hope that something changes in the near future to prevent this from happening again.
I agree totally with this assumption, especially in light of the crime against the honeymooners that occurred in a hotel. As with anyplace, there is crime and people should be diligent as in any "urban" area after dark. A semi deserted boat yard / dock is an open invitation to someone who wants to rob you. Just like in other islands, the population centers of those islands are "urban" areas and the bad guys / drug addicts tend to gather there. This sounds definately like a random crime against tourists, not necessarily boaters.
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Old 05-02-2009, 05:21   #9
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Antiguan arrested in murder of captai

A judge ordered Lindsey held without bail on Monday. A hearing was set for May to determine if there is enough evidence to charge him with murder.

Antiguan police have arrested and charged 21-year-old Sylvester Lindsey, a resident of Antigua, for the murder of Capt. Drew Gollan of S/Y Perseus.
More:
The Triton - Nautical news for captains and crews

On 30 January, 2009, a 21 year resident of Potters, Sylvester Lindsey (B. 18 September 1987) was arrested and charged for the murder of Drew Joseph Gollan of Australia which occurred in English Harbour on the 22nd January, 2009. The individual will be brought before the Court on Monday for the homicide. A .32 calibre pistol has been seized which we believe was involved in the offence.
More:
Antigua & Barbuda Marine Assocation

Latest On Security in English Harbour & Falmouth

Antigua & Barbuda Marine Assocation
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Old 05-02-2009, 08:05   #10
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A quote from the police statement...

Quote:
Numerous tips were received as well as members of the public have come forward to assist the police. It demonstrates that the level of cooperation between the police and public is increasing.
This is an unusual thing on many of the eastern Caribbean islands. The police generally find it extremely difficult to get anyone to turn in the bad guys. Maybe people are beginning to realize that tolerating crime without fighting back is going to hurt everyone as tourists and cruisers decide to go elsewhere.
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Old 05-02-2009, 09:00   #11
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Coincidentally enough we were next to the german boat that was boarded in Jolly harbour. The incident woke my wife but I slept through it. We were also there in Falmouth Harbour the night of the murder and heard the ambulance (at least my wife did - I slept through it). A slight newance we've heard on the latter story was that during the robbery and after valuables were handed over the wife was shot in the foot/leg - perhaps accidentally - after which the captain acted and in that action was shot three times. Who knows for sure. The following day all the local business folks and officials had a gettogether at Abracadabra no doubt because they all saw the writing on the wall. Everyone was gossiping about this the following day. I am sure everyone understood the trickle down effect from the visiting megayacts. I am not suprised locals informed as they would all suffer otherwise. We also heard shortly after we left that a group of 5 were mugged outside of one of the marinas in broad daylight.

While all this went on, our stay was fantastic and we saw no issues. We really hope the Antiguan authorities have nailed this one.
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:38   #12
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Another couple of incredibly unfortunate incidents. The only thing that I find interesting is that, unlike a similar case in Venezuela a couple of months ago, nobody here seems to be saying, 'stay away from Antigua', nor making the incredible suggestion that such activity is somehow encouraged by the government (and that despite the fact that there was an arrest in Venezuela of a suspect withing 48 hours of the murder of a sailor there).

Indeed, when one considers that Venezuela has the largest coastline on the Caribbean of any country and considers the number of bays, harbours, and separate islands that are visited there by tourists/cruisers, perhaps the indictment of all of Venezuela can now be seen by some here in a more rational light.

Any attack on, or burglary/theft from a cruiser in any area should be a matter of concern. And while there are clearly some areas that are more prone than others for these types of offences, no place is immune. We as cruisers must use common sense, but must also avoid becoming immobilized by fear. If we avoided Antigua, or St. Vincent, or Bermuda, or Mexico, or Aruba, or Jamaica, or the Domincan Republic, or Brazil, or Panama, or any other place where there have been attacks, including fatal ones on cruisers/tourists, we would also have to avoid cruising/touring in our own countries.

I suggest that this stands as a reminder that just as there is violence and crime in our home countries, the same will exist no matter where we travel.

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Old 05-02-2009, 10:55   #13
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Beside the fact that this is a bad story, it confirms my feeling from december 2008
that places just do not feel secure anymore.
The boat was perfect and the islands (Martinique to Grenada) as well but... :-(
In this case as a simple charter sailor we made before our flight back already the
decision not to go to the Windwards or Leewards again in the near future.

Two years ago the Virgin Islands felt pretty good, might as well go there instead.
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:07   #14
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“... In the dozens of interviews given by the Antigua & Barbuda Marine Association to both the local and international press in both the printed and broadcast media it has been stressed that Antigua is still a safe haven for yachts and that this is recognised by the vast majority of yacht owners and skippers as evidenced by the lack of yachts leaving.

To date only three yachts are absolutely known to have left as a result of the murder with a rumoured further three also leaving. Yachts can be seen continually coming and the Immigration service have confirmed that the majority of yachts departing immediately after the incident had already been booked to leave prior to the murder and that an equivalent number had arrived since the incident . With over 100 yachts still in Falmouth and English Harbours there has not been the mass exodus some had predicted....”

Goto:
Antigua & Barbuda Marine Assocation
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:20   #15
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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
With over 100 yachts still in Falmouth and English Harbours there has not been the mass exodus some had predicted....

Goto:
Antigua & Barbuda Marine Assocation
If they did, would/could it be "cleaned up" much more quickly?

Of course. But like anything anywhere the horror only affects very few and the larger number are unaffected and move on.

Same everywhere.
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