The number of crimes against yachts in Vincentian waters reported in 2016 declined, but the country’s improving record was stained by the only killing of a sailor in 38 countries in and around the Caribbean basin.
Further, while the number of crimes against yachts in the region declined in 2016, SVG accounted for one-third of all violent crimes against sailors reported to the Caribbean Crimes and Safety Net (CSSN).
CSSN’s primary mission is the collection and dissemination of accurate information about crimes against yachts in the Caribbean and covers 38 countries in and around the Caribbean basin.
CSSN said violent crimes against yachts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines increased more than 500 per cent, and, in addition to the region’s only death, incidents were reported from a variety of locations throughout the Vincentian archipelago.
“SVG violent incidents represent 33 per cent of ALL violent incidents against yachts reported to CSSN for the entire region. Non-violent reports in SVG actually declined, largely attributable to fewer reports from Canouan, which had the highest number of reports in the region in the prior year (2015),” CSSN said in its “Annual Report 2016 Reported Yacht Crime — Caribbean”.
Both the government and opposition in SVG condemned the March 4, 2016 murder of Martin Griff, a 49-year-old accountant of Germany, which occurred at Wallilabou Bay during the pre-dawn hours.
Reports are that the deceased was on a yacht when unknown assailants attacked him. He sustained a gunshot wound to his throat and succumbed to the injuries, police said.
Reinhold Zeller, a 63-year-old sea captain, also of Germany, sustained a gunshot wound to his left shoulder during the same incident, after unknown assailants attacked him on the yacht, police say.
No one was charged in connection with those crimes.
CSSN said that overall, the total in the 38 countries were essentially unchanged 2014 to 2015 (74/77), in 2016 they recorded a 17% increase (77/90).
“Both violent crimes (assault, piracy, robbery) and non-violent crimes (burglary, theft, vandalism) showed similar increases. We received our first reports from Cuba (2) and for the first time, no reports from Venezuela — both likely a reflection of changing cruising destinations.”
Violent crimes were reported in six countries in 2015, but increased to nine countries in 2016. Violence ranged from restraint to serious injuries (including gunshot wounds) and sexual assault (rape), and death.
In 2016, only three countries accounted for slightly more than 50% of total incidents, compared to four countries in 2015.
During 2016 Grenada had 24 reports, St. Lucia 12 and SVG 12. All other countries had five or less, with most having only one or two.
CSSN said that Grenada not only reported the largest absolute number of incidents in 2016 but also the largest overall increase (+500%).
“This was driven by a significant increase in the number of thefts/burglaries that occurred in the south coast anchorages. Grenada reported 2 assaults in 2016, up from none in either of the two previous years,” CSSN said.