Categorized | Destinations

“PLAGUE OF VIOLENCE” COULD HURT CARIBBEAN TOURISM…

Posted on 19 July 2010

This week’s gang-related shooting of a 14-year-old cruise passenger on tour in St. Thomas-an act the U.S. Virgin Islands’ congressional delegate called part of a “plague of violence”-is the latest in a string of bad news for the tourism-dependent Caribbean. Passenger Lizmarie Perez Chapparro was killed Monday near popular Coki Point Beach as she rode with her family on a “safari bus” that ferries tourists across the island. The girl and her family had arrived in St. Thomas earlier in the day aboard the Carnival Victory, which sails out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Another cruise ship passenger sustained a minor injury during the shootout, and a local man also was killed. Monday’s shooting brings to 44 the number of homicides in the U.S. Virgin Islands for 2010, according to statistics compiled by the St. Thomas Source from police reports.

The destination has grappled with a rise in gang-related violence for several years. Donna Christensen, USVI delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, said in a statement following the shooting that a “plague of violence has gripped our community.”  Police Commissioner Nouvelle Francis Jr. and Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty are scheduled to meet with all major cruise lines today to share enhanced safety and security plans and provide updates on the crime investigation.

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