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Old 08-03-2017, 09:08   #1
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Security in Windward Islands

We're heading in a couple of months to the Eastern Caribbean. I haven't been to the Leewards or Windwards in the past fifteen+ years.

Reading through reports on Noonsite and CSSN, it looks like the security situation has gotten dicey in recent years in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada.

Have any forum members been there in the past couple of years? Should we just avoid those countries this trip? (Been there already.)

Can you suggest safe, specific destinations in those countries?
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:47   #2
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

Or maybe I should ask whether I should take a gun?

Or buy a Manson Supreme anchor?

Or put Trump stickers on the dinghy?

Seriously, don't answer those questions...

Anyone have any up-to-date experience or advice?
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Old 08-03-2017, 18:55   #3
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

I'll bump this one more time.
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Old 08-03-2017, 19:18   #4
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

Did a short delivery from Martinique to Grenada last year. We skipped St Lucia, St Vincent, partially due to security issues. No problems otherwise.
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Old 08-03-2017, 19:47   #5
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

I certainly would skip St Vincent, but not the Grenadines. Grenada is fine, can't help you with St. Lucia.
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Old 09-03-2017, 04:31   #6
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

As far as details go, I think NoonSite and CSSN are your best sources.

One thing to keep in mind though is that they dont present per capita (or adjusted for density of boats) statistics. This area is very crowded so absolute numbers of events will naturally be higher.
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Old 09-03-2017, 05:29   #7
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

Sailed down from Antigua to Grenada and back last year, and left boat for a month in Rodney Bay and in a marina Grenada. Went to most of the islands apart from St Vincent - due to its reputation. Had no problems, but always anchored in bays where there were multiple other boats. Went ashore and walked around towns etc during the day with no problems. At night would be more aware- go to restaurants close to dinghy docks. Over all never felt at risk, plus the islands are definitely worth visiting, especially the French islands, and grenadines.
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Old 09-03-2017, 07:49   #8
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

We visited in 2003 / 2007 / 2013. I did not notice any dramatic changes between the years.

Places that were indifferent or rude (mostly ex British colonies) were rude and indifferent back then as much as today. But getting a bad look does not kill anybody. You will get bad looks if you stray into the 'wrong' districts of your home town too.

Insecure? Well, I did not notice much crime. Mostly plain street crime that is common in any other big touristy place as well.

There are bad spots too, but these seems to be spots rather than whole islands or nations.

Read the reports from say last 10 years then see which places pop up on a regular basis. Then do not anchor there. And do not expect that if a drunk visiting sailor gets killed middle of the night in front of a local bar, the same thing will be done to you in plain daylight in a local village.

Much of local crime is result of visiting sailors in search of drugs, alcohol or prostitution. But there is not much local crime directed towards a general, unconcerned public.

Sail the Windwards and enjoy the ride.

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Old 09-03-2017, 08:04   #9
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

I suppose security is an issue.. but what you end up dealing with down island is all the mafia.. the jerks who want something for nothing. "I'll watch your dinghy for you". Or worse, "I'll make sure nothing happens to your dinghy if you share". That's what I don't have the time of day for anymore. Gets real old, real fast.
"What, you say you'll WASH my dinghy. We can talk then. Don't friggen tell me you're gonna WATCH my dinghy and expect to get paid. I'm going to chain it up, take your picture, and so help me, if there's a problem with my dinghy, you're the first one I'm looking for!"
Geeze, they've turned me into a friggen meany!

And if you're white.. the one out of 10 black racist who want to start something because Trump is the president of the US. How many friggen times did I put out my hand for a hand shake, while they're bad mouthing Trump and the US, and as I crush their hand in mine, say "I'm glad to be Canadian". Fortunately, I speak Canadian although I'm not Canadian. It puts an end to the bull sh:+. All the while everyone (all the locals around us) just want him to shut the f' up. Happens on the local bus, the street.. everywhere. Irritating as heck.

I think that's what you need to prepare for more than any security issues.
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:21   #10
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

Heck, if that's the worst you had to put up with... My family wishes I would shut up about Trump all the time!

Thanks to all for the feedback. Nice to hear not much change overall since 2003. That's close to the last time we visited, and once you got the hang, it was not too difficult to get along.
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Old 10-03-2017, 15:05   #11
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

I think the security concerns for their windwards are way overblown. If you actually read all the reports on CSSN most consist of petty theft. In addition, the actual frequency of reported events seem pretty low compared to most US cities. Situational awareness and use common sense. We've chartered in the windwards the last two years and spent considerable time in St Lucia and St Vincent.
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Old 22-07-2019, 06:46   #12
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

Hi I have spent the last 2 years sailing these Islands the only one I avoid is St Vincent as I understand petty theft is more of a problem there. I have never felt threatened nor had any issues. The last time I was at Union Island a boat was boarded while the crew was ashore and some small Items taken was more a crime of opportunity.
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Old 22-07-2019, 10:29   #13
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

We only spent a couple days in St Lucia and St Vincent this winter, so our sample size is small, but we had NO problems. The Rodney Bay morning announcements on CH 16 warn you to use a chain, not a cable for your dinghy. We stopped in Wallibou Bay, St. Vincent to clear in. The locals sold us some trinkets and fruit, but were very friendly.
Check the Chris Parker guide and website too.
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Old 22-07-2019, 19:20   #14
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Re: Security in Windward Islands

There are problems everywhere. I thought Bequia was good and safe, yet the other day there was a boat boarding and theft and a "mugging" on land. I think it's just that everywhere you go in the world, you need to be aware of surroundings and secure as much as possible without being paranoid, otherwise you won' t go anywhere. Places that have a bad reputation, i.e. St Vincent have some beautiful and safe anchorages.
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